Cross-cultural pollination in a globalised world is ushering in a vibrant new era of communication. Here you’ll find ten tips to help you navigate new conversations when doing business in China. 好运 (Haoyun or good luck)
Guanxi first, business later
Be patient with Chinese companies. Good things come to those who wait, but only once trust has been established.
Be authentic . . .
Show your respect for your host’s success. Acknowledge their customs and hospitality, but remain authentic to your own roots. Many brands have failed to “look Chinese” when their own national heritage would play just fine.
. . . but talk their language
Chinese people are increasingly well-travelled global citizens. However when it’s time to talk business on their turf, get yourself a specialist translator who understands your business and can potentially spot important communication nuances of which you may be unaware.
Think macro to micro
Chinese culture places the collective before the individual. Addresses are written province, city, district, block and gate number. Chinese put surnames first, and the year before the month and date. So think about the big picture first.
Highlight our common goals
When examining a picture, a western eye may see the deer before the forest, while a Chinese reader, steeped in eastern philosophy, may consider the complex harmony of nature. Your corporate communications should also consider the balance between personal need and shared benefit.
Read the signs
Chinese design is rich with symbolism. Numbers and colours have meaning. A single brush stroke can convey a lifetime of feeling. So ask a local expert to consider the hidden meaning of every element of your communication carefully.
Thinking of creating a Chinese version of your logo?
Chinese characters are pictograms that often reflect their natural origins. So consider their meaning and sounds beyond their literal translation.
The Chinese pronunciation of “Kerker Kerler” means “tastes good,” while Ikea and Carrefour have manipulated the pictograms of their logo to reflect their business purpose.
Follow us on Weibo
The sophistication, prominence and adoption of Chinese social media and ecommerce far exceeds our usage in the west. Embrace the opportunities that WeChat, Weibo, Youku, Tengxun and a multitude of other platforms can bring to your business.
Mind your manners
Formalities and ceremony are still observed by many people. So don’t call your elders by their first name, be prepared for a time-consuming lunch and put some thought into your corporate gifts.
Be the change
China is not the China of twenty years ago. Tradition remains but cross-cultural influence is everywhere, particularly in Tier 1 cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. So don’t be afraid to try something new and move the conversation forward.
Find out more at bwdcreative.com.au.