Chinese Business Culture

Despite the growing trend towards globalization and the blurring of national boundaries, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) maintains a proud and unique cultural and socio-political identity. Although ostensibly a land of great opportunity, China can be a confusing and complex place for the uninitiated Westerner to conduct business.

Access China is pleased to offer expert Chinese Business Culture and Etiquette Workshops as a powerful orientation for South African business people that would like to be in a better position to understand their Chinese counterparts. Regular one-day workshops are held in Johannesburg and are also presented on-site at offices, plants and factories anywhere within South Africa by arrangement.

Interaction between South African and Chinese business people is in on the increase, especially in the workplace. There is a growing trend of Chinese state-owned and private enterprises acquiring South African companies as a springboard or platform for expansion into the African market. China’s far-reaching “One Belt, One Road” development initiative which aims to enhance connections and trade between Asia, Europe and Africa is further accelerating this trend.

Chinese business practices, customs and etiquette differ vastly to both the West and other emerging markets. In reality, Westerners doing business or working with the Chinese may find themselves at a considerable disadvantage if they lack any understanding or appreciation of China’s business culture and the complex Chinese mindset. China’s seemingly strange culture and different way of doing things can sometimes be bewildering to Western business people. Its unique business environment presents potential challenges and pitfalls. The potential for misinterpretation, misunderstanding, distrust and frustration exists due to cultural differences and vastly divergent world views. Over the years, several cautionary tales have been written about doing business in Zhongguo (the Middle Kingdom) such as Tim Clissold’s “Mr. China”, Jim Mann’s “Beijing Jeep” and Joe Studwell’s “The China Dream”. It is important that one is aware of the fundamental differences between the mindsets of Chinese and Western business people. Clearly, the most successful and long-lasting business relationships are to be had after one has obtained a proper grasp of China’s cultural, socio-political and historical aspects.

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