June 22nd, 2009 by China Business Success Stories
By David DeChant
China continues to emerge on the world stage as an economic powerhouse, projected to be the world’s fourth largest economy within two years. U.S. companies, especially small to medium enterprises (SMEs), stand to benefit significantly from this growth, assuming that they are prepared to enter this highly competitive environment filled with considerable but manageable risks. Nearly 97 percent of all U.S. exports originate from SMEs—companies with fewer than 500 employees (International Trade Administration, 2006).
To enhance their chances of success, SME decision makers must understand Chinese cultures, business norms, and values, and be willing and able to adapt quickly to always-changing markets. This article should help you participate in the world’s fastest growing economy with its ever-increasing demands for premium quality goods and services. You will need to deal with the following questions: Read the rest of “Accept the China Challenge” or post a comment
May 28th, 2009 by China Business Success Stories
By Terri Morgan
Problems that may result from cultural differences in business are compounded by the fact that even though a native speaker of one language has learned the other person’s language, he or she may not have been sufficiently exposed to actual usage of the target language. Mistakes in usage can occur even when grammar and pronunciation are correct.
Until recently, few Americans had been directly exposed to Chinese language and even fewer had learned how to speak Chinese. This is changing. Beginning in the 21st century, more and more people outside China have begun learning the language.
It is important to distinguish ethnicity, nationality, and language. This is done naturally by most western people since western nations have many generations of immigrants from varied ethnic backgrounds. An American whose grandparents immigrated to the US from China may not speak Chinese at all or could be learning it as a second language. It is not as common for Chinese people to make these distinctions. Read the rest of “Language and Communication in China” or post a comment
May 7th, 2009 by China Business Success Stories
By Greg Bissky
Has China changed? Companies bet millions on the answer, but it’s the wrong question. You should ask if Chinese have changed. China has changed; the Chinese haven’t.
Amazing changes! New politico/economic system. New laws, social structures, buildings and consumption patterns, different clothes. Sound familiar? It should—it’s happened twice in 100 years! (Three times actually.)
Go back 50 years. China’s 1959 changes (described above) were as amazing as changes today. But Mao and communism didn’t change the Chinese, and it’s naive to think MacDonald’s and capitalism will. China changes but the Chinese don’t.
Or don’t change in areas important for business. China’s changes are outside-in, important for what types of business can be done but not for actually doing business. That requires inside-out change, a harder thing. Read the rest of “China Has Changed; The Chinese Haven’t” or post a comment
May 6th, 2009 by China Business Success Stories
By Frank Gallo
In an earlier posting on my blog (Unique Leadership Competencies in China), we looked at the unique competencies of Chinese leaders. In that same posting I listed a few of the typical competencies that might be found in the Western literature for leadership competencies in the West. These included honesty, strategic thinking, visionary thinking, customer service focus, conceptual thinking and more. Most of these competencies are also expected of Chinese leaders. But what is different between the West and China are the specific values that most Westerners are taught as children. I want to describe them in this column to give readers a better understanding of what makes many Westerners behave as they do.
The information in this posting summarizes one of the chapters in my book, Business Leadership in China, which was published by John Wiley and Sons in July 2008. A Chinese version of this article originally appeared in CHO Magazine in April 2008.
Key Western Values that Shape Its Leaders
Equality. One of my first “startling” experiences in China was when I went to a client’s company headquarters in Jinan. I was getting a tour of the facility by the CEO. As we entered each new space, employees would stand at attention until we left the area. Some employees saluted. Read the rest of “Western Versus Chinese Leadership Values” or post a comment
April 29th, 2009 by China Business Success Stories
By Greg Bissky
The meeting was over. Mr. Smith walked away happy, thinking they had decided to do X. Mr. Chen walked away happy, thinking they had decided not to do X. Both remained happy, or did until Smith phoned Chen asking why he wasn’t doing what they decided upon. Hearing this, Chen asked Smith, “What do you mean?
I am doing what we decided upon!” Happiness (on both sides) was now replaced by an uglier feeling: mistrust. Not a good foundation to build a business relationship upon.
It happens far too often: both sides, Western and Chinese, listen to the same words but hear different meanings. Why? Culture, or, more precise, the way each culture trains its people to use language to communicate.
No matter the culture, communication always has the same goal: to transmit messages from the sender (writer, speaker) to the audience (listener, reader). But just because goals are the same doesn’t mean each side must use the same method to achieve the goal. Think of two football teams. Read the rest of “Doing Business Deaf and Blind in China” or post a comment