CHINA
CULTURAL DIFFERENCES



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

FAMILY
Family is the first priority.  Attachment to family grounded in agricultural roots and immobility.
EDUCATION
Highly developed with technical skills emphasized.
ECONOMY
Economy is comprised of many state owned companies.  Given the size of China, its economy offers a wealth of opportunity.
POLITICS
China ia a country of many political parties.  Apart from the CPC, which is in power, China has eight non-Communist parties.
RELIGION
China is a country with great diversity of religions with over 100 million followers of various faiths.  The main religions are Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, China's indigenous Taoism, along with Shamanism, Eastern Orthodox Christianity and the Naxi people.
ASSOCIATES
Chinese are very collectivist centered on the family, communal ownership, agricultural roots, need for unity against hardship, immobility, and Buddhist suppression on individualism
HEALTH
Chinese are very health conscious people who have historically, been a healthy culture.  The Chinese health system is highly developed with some emerging technologies being developed their.
RECREATION
Chinese are hardworking, but also enjoy family oriented fun.  They are excellent host and enjoy entertaining guest.
VALUE DIMENSIONS
The most revered aspect in the Chinese culture is connections/Guanxi.  Guanxi is a pervasive network of personal relationships based on trust and mutual benefit.  A friendly, sincere relationship established over a period of time and based on mutual respect is an integral part of Chinese culture.
China’s Culture and Ethics
 
 
 

     I interviewed Huy Kho for the Chinese perspective of transacting business in China.  Mr. Kho is a loan officer at Crescent Bank and Trust in New Orleans, who grew up in Hong Kong.  His father owned a deli style store in Hong Kong for many years before moving to Chicago in 1989.  Mr. Kho emphasized, “understanding and respecting Chinese business culture will go a long way toward ensuring a successful business relationship.”
     Mr. Kho cited the biggest difference between the United States and the Chinese business culture “is in decision making.”  “The Chinese are more slow and methodical when making decisions and prefer to have several other peoples buy in.”  They view a quick decision as incompetence.  “Any method to speed up or circumvent this tedious process is destined for failure,” according to Mr. Kho.
     Mr. Kho says, “the most integral component of being successful in China’s business climate is having connections or Guanxi,” as they call it.  Guanxi is a pervasive network of personal relationships based on truth and mutual benefit.  “A friendly, sincere relationship established over a period of time and based on mutual respect is an integral part of the Chinese culture,” according to Mr. Kho.  His father felt that the single most important ingredient of his business’s success was based almost entirely on his excellent reputation and connections within the community.
     Another aspect of the Chinese culture that Mr. Kho thought was important to know was the emphasis the Chinese place on titles.   The Chinese only want to deal with people of comparable or higher positions within a company.  Because power distance pervades their working economy, they only want to deal with the top executive and anything less is a sign of disrespect.
     As previously mentioned, the Chinese place heavy emphasis on respect.  “Being prompt for meetings and engagements is imperative to developing a good relationship,” according to Mr. Kho. The Chinese view tardiness as a sign of disrespect.  “Saving face” is an important concept to understand.  “In Chinese business culture, a person’s reputation and social rests on this concept,” according to Mr. Kho. “Causing embarrassment or loss of composure, even unintentionally, can be disastrous for business negotiations.”
     Mr. Kho did however have one caveat about doing business in China, and that was the practice of  “gift giving.”  The Chinese relish the practice of gift giving.  However, Mr. Kho claims, “his father had to give gifts for more favorable treatment from Chinese officials.”  Although, openly, bribery is strictly prohibited, the practice pervades the Chinese business economy with foreigners being the most susceptible.
     Overall, Mr. Kho said “ the Chinese people are very honest, hard working and family oriented.”  They place a heavy emphasis on family and customs.
 
 

Sources:  Huy Kho(personal interview) Wrk # 293-7295
China Executive Planet, www.executiveplanet.com
China Hongkong Business, www.chinapoint.com/news/business/asia/china/culture/negotiating.htm