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How to negotiate with Chinese business

Doing business in China is unlike any other country. For UK businessmen and women the culture can take a little getting used to. You don’t want to blow the deal because you’re not in tune with the Chinese way of doing business, we’ll give you some tips on how to negotiate with Chinese business.
    Getty - Peter Parks
Manage your expectations The Chinese don’t want to lose face in business and they don’t want you to lose face either. Their honour system means that they’ll rarely disagree with you in public so you can expect very friendly relations. Don’t get the wrong idea and start thinking that you’re building a relationship. If you do, you could be surprised when negotiations begin.

Negotiation strategy

You need to allow for more time than you would when working with a western firm. You’ve probably become accustomed to negotiating over the phone or via something like Skype, but those are things that Chinese firms rarely use when dealing with important business decisions. You should expect a series of face to face meetings during which your Chinese counterparts will be more than prepared with a negotiation strategy. Make sure you and your party have one too.

Team sport

You’ll rarely negotiate on a one to one basis. Most meetings will involve a team of representatives from the Chinese firm so your first job will be to identify the decision maker. This is the person who you’ll have to pay the closest attention to and the one who you’ll need to engage with the most during your lengthy negotiations.

Cultural differences

The biggest hurdle is the cultural differences between your firm and the Chinese company. To get around this enlist local help. A capable team that includes Chinese individuals will help you bridge the cultural divide.

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