Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How to negotiate with the Chinese

24.11.2008
The Chinese are famous for their negotiation skills. China-expert Henning Kristoffersen at BI Norwegian School of Management shares some tips on how to succeed in business in China.

During the last years, the Chinese economy has gone through a rapid development with an impressive growth rate and increase in international trade. Norwegian companies are very much aware of the huge business potential China represents.

At the same time however, Norwegian managers and directors in China have experienced that it is not an easy task to do business in China. The Chinese are experienced negotiators who know how to cut corners at every turn.

Tough negotiators

- There is no need to be “Mr. Nice Guy” when negotiating in China. The Chinese are tough negotiators but they highly respect a counterpart who also knows the tricks of the trade, states Henning Kristoffersen.

Kristoffersen has, from his background as of a social anthropologist, studied negotiation tactics and business culture in China for years.

He has more than 20 years of experience working in China and with the Chinese. Altogether, he lived in Shanghai for 4 years subsequently managing the Nordic Centre at Fudan University and BI’s Liaison Office taking care of BI's part-time MBA programme.

The BI Norwegian School of Management China-expert has recently published his book ”Modern China” (“Det nye Kina” for the time being available in Norwegian only) that gives a practice-oriented introduction on how to do business in China, Chinese economy, culture and politics.

Rapid changes

When it comes to doing business in China one is usually told one has to be patient. Things take time. At the same time there are few people returning from China with the impression that the Chinese work slowly.

In the course of last 12 years more than 4000 buildings of more than 20 floors were raised in Shanghai.

- It’s hard to find similar examples of high-paced development elsewhere, states Kristoffersen

The Chinese market is rapidly changing and viable business-concepts have to be implemented quickly. Nobody knows this better than the Chinese.

Chinese etiquette and culture

According to Kristoffersen it is useful to know Chinese tradition and etiquette when doing business in China such as mastering your chopsticks, greeting people correctly with the use of business cards and knowing when – and how to give gifts.

-It shows that you are interested in Chinese culture, and this will be appreciated. Making mistakes however, is rarely fatal.

Kristoffersen claims that most Chinese are very lenient when it comes to forgiving foreigners who sin against Chinese customs .

-It is potentially a big advantage to exhibit knowledge of Chinese etiquette, but there is a very small risk involved if one should make mistakes.

Negotiations in China

Kristoffersen has developed 11 useful tips to increase the probability of succeeding when negotiating with the Chinese:

1. Be patient and spend time building relations. In the meantime one should not forget how fast things can shift in China. Be prepared to to act quickly if opportunity knocks.

2. Take the Chinese bargaining culture into consideration. Make sure you always have something more to bring to the table.

3. Always remember the ‘home’ advantage. Invite your Chinese partners to your country.

4. Focus on the informal negotiations that go on all the time. Do not use up all of your energy on what’s goin on during for formal negotiations. Remember that most things can be negotiated and re-negotiated.

5. Use social settings to gather information. Do not spend all of your time worrying about all the potential landmines one can stomp on when it comes to Chinese etiquette.

6. Double-check all the information you receive with your own Chinese connections. It is not always true when someone says that “this is impossible in China”.

7. Look at the contract as an agreement of intention that needs continuous follow up.

8. Make sure you are communicating with the right person – the one who makes the decisions. If you fail to do so you might risk that while you think you are negotiating, you are actually just giving out information.

9. Keep in mind the Chinese notion of “Face”. Do not embarrass your Chinese relations. Focus on ”Giving face”

10. Keep in mind that your temper is an efficient tool when you feel the need to draw your line.

11. Before you do business in China you need to get at least one Chinese contact that you trust 100% and who is willing to help you.

Reference:
Kristoffersen, Henning (2008): ”Modern China” (“Det nye Kina” for the time being available in Norwegian only), Universitetsforlaget.

Audun Farbrot | alfa
Further information:
http://www.bi.no

More articles from Business and Finance:

nachricht Preferential trade agreements enhance global trade at the expense of its resilience
17.02.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht How Strong Brands Translate into Money
15.11.2016 | Kühne Logistics University - Wissenschaftliche Hochschule für Logistik und Unternehmensführung

All articles from Business and Finance >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>