Answers to Intercultural Questions


The key to success lies in the objectives of your partner

The secret of your success lies in understanding your counterpart.

This is of course true in general, but it is in particular so when dealing with your Chinese business partners. To be able to work together with Chinese partners successfully, it is indispensable to take into account the cultural and business backgrounds of both parties involved.

Western business people and diplomats tend to analyse and interpret China and the things going on in this country on the basis of their own cultural matrix, against the background of western thought and mindset and in relation to the occidental realm of experience. The fundamental differences between European and Chinese partners in terms of behaviour, conduct and understanding will then often lead to misconceptions and wrong conclusions likely to build up and become insurmountable obstacles.

If one wants to be able to successfully engage in negotiations with Chinese business partners, one needs to be familiar with the business conduct and practices of Chinese people and customary in China. Every negotiation follow certain culture-specific rules, and one needs to know and observe this set of rules to achieve successes.

The whole is more than the sum of its parts

Chinese business practices and negotiating tactics follow a set a rules that is quite different from the one observed and adhered to in western countries and cultures. Just like with a jigsaw puzzle for which there does not exist a master model, the many pieces of it simply will not seem to fit together at first. However, if one knows the master pattern, the individual pieces of the puzzle may be put together one after the other to form the whole picture in the end.