china law

Learn the Chinese way of doing things

An old saying goes "Do in Rome as the Romans do". What are the basic do's and don'ts for foreigners doing business in China?

If you come to do business in China, you have to learn the Chinese ways of doing things. They include:

Flexibility. To survive, the Chinese have learned to be flexible. Governments change. Laws and regulations change. Officials change. As foreigners doing business in China, you need to learn to adjust yourselves to the changing situations as the Chinese do.

Patience. In China you must be patient. You cannot move as fast as you want. Things do not happen overnight. For instance, choosing a joint venture partner in China is like searching for a partner for a marriage. You have to choose the right person and try to minimize the likelihood of divorce. This takes time.

Guanxi (Relationships). Relationships are important everywhere, but they are especially important in China. You have to establish good relationships with the governments at both central and local levels. This is because both the central and local governments have their own powers and wishes.

Respect. If you come to China with an arrogant manner, you are lost. Regardless of your ownership percentage, you should try to treat your joint venture partners as equals. In order to succeed in China, you need to understand the culture and history that have brought China to where it is today. The Chinese are proud of their history and you in turn have to respect it. However, that does not mean that you have to change yourselves. Never try to compare - better or worse - but try to recognize differences and leave it at that.