Chinese business culture
Chinese business culture
As our final camp project out team head to China. The decision to go to China was made already on February 2019 when we begun to plan the final camp project. China was interesting, unknown for most of us and different to basic final camp destinations and we also have Ida in our team, who as lived in China for a year and can speak some Chinese.
As we didn’t knew much about Chinese culture, especially Chinese business culture we studied Chinese culture beforehand in many training sessions, via documentaries and also invited some Chinese guests to visit our training sessions and share their knowledge about what we should consides when we go to China.
Gift giving and eating in China
As mentioned in Cyborlinks (n.d.) gift giving is one of the major manners we had to think about. The gift shouldn’t be too expencive and we weren’t sure who there was going to be meeting us, so we weren’t sure how many presents we’d bring woth us. We decided to buy many different items that we could share into different gift bags. Symbols such as clocks, pear, number 4 and handkerchiefs, that refer to death are highly inappropriate as a gift (Cyborlinks, n.d.). That in mind we desiced to bring some traditional Finnish candies such as Fazer chocolate and salmiakki, TAMK notebooks and pens, chocolate blueberries and Marimekko serviettes.
Our whole group was invited to have a great banquets few times during our stay and that is the most acceptable gift in China. As a cultural courtesy you are supposed to tast every offered meal. As told in Cyborlinks (n.d.) we noticed that there were almost 20 different courses offered so it is wise just to take a small sample of everything. It is polite not to start eat or drink before your host.
Chinese have many different traditions for eating. For exsample when we were eating fish, our coach Tirri was offered to eat the fish eye. That is a respectful gesture for a valued guest. In such a situations it would be disrespectful to refuse the honour. Meal isn’t the time to speak about business at all (Cyberlinks, n.d.).
Timing and communication forms
It is vital to be in time in China (Cyberlinks, n.d.). We had problems to be in time in the mornings so our host Nancy even told us to be better in time. That was a bit of a embarrassment for us but next morning we were on time.
Applause is common when greeting a crowd; the same is expected in return (Cyberlinks, n.d.). Group photos and applauses we got to enjoy multiple times during our stay. Meetings in Chine are formal and formal titles are used in introductions. The most important member of your company or group should lead important meetings. Chinese value rank and status. For us it was a bit strange as in Proakatemia we are so familiar with each other and hierarchy is not visible at all. That was oppsoite in China, where hierarchy and formality is a norm. Many times our coach Tirri was asked to the stage to give some presentations or speaches, but we had planned that one of us students will do the speach. In those cases Tirri just went to the stage and introduced some of us to the stage to give the speach.
As not every Chinese can speak fluent English sometimes translation is needed. It is good to bring many copies of all written documents for the meeting and give the materials to interpreter even beforehand.
Before our trip we were a bit nervous how important all these manners are and how significant errors we might do while not rememberinf all the manners. In my opinion I’d say that it is polite to understand the manners and show that you are trying to be respectful for the host, but they will also understand if we’re not familiar with all of those. Most of the time we could be pretty relaxed and people were really friendly. I think that hardest cultural difference was in communication. As a Finns we are honest and speak straightforward Chinese prefer to be more polite and they might not always answer to your guestion. Few times we really had to dig deeper and ask some thing in many different ways to get the real answer and that was a bit frustrating as a Finn even though it’s still understandable that it’s just a thing in their culture.
Final camp was a huge opportunity for us to learn from a different culture, make new networks and truly an unforgettable experience we got to share together as a team.
Cyberlinks. N.d. China Business Etiquette, Culture, & Manners. Read: 4.12.2019
Final camp project to China. 10.-21.10.2019. Luoyang Institute of Science and Technology.