3 Keys to Business Success in China

For businesses who wish to break into the Asian market, one of their most critical needs is to become confident in their understanding of the culture. With relationships being at the heart of business in Asia, learning to build long-term, sustainable businesss relationships can only be developed when you understand and respect the culture.

There are three core elements to understand with regards to how business is done in Asia generally and China specifically:

1) They only do business with people they trust, people they like or people in extended family relationships

You need a genuine interest and curiosity about Asian culture. Make friends in your local Asian business community at home and learn to appreciate their culture, relationships, and food.

Like any other relationship, this starts with asking open questions:

Where do they come from? What is their their family like? How business is done in their world?

Stop talking and start listening. Show genuine curiosity about their world and you'll start developing meaningful relationships.

2) Understand and appreciate hierarchy

Asian businesses are much more hierarchical than in western organisations, and your organisation needs to develop it’s own hierarchy that will allow people of appropriate levels to deal with the right person at the right level in the organisation you’re building a relationship with.

Your own organisational culture needs to develop it's understanding and respect for the heirarchy of both leadership and seniority. There also needs to be more of a sense of ceremony around certain stages of deals.

3) Develop your Asian capability

Show your potential clients that you’re interested in doing business with them by tangibly demonstrating your intent, respect and effort - if you ensure that Asian businesses are clearly, explicitly welcome, then you stand a greater chance of gaining that business.

The best way to achieve this is to ensure that your marketing collateral and website is translated and/or designed with the Asian market in mind.

You also need to start making recruiting decisions that reflect the kind of diversity that you’re trying to achieve in your business dealings.

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