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  • Writer's pictureBoyd Jones

Doing Business in China - Top Ten Dont's

This blog post corresponds somewhat to the list of Top Ten Do's. Here I go:

DON’T # 1 - Don’t discuss sensitive subjects online. Assuming you are in China for business, focus on business, not politics. 

DON’T # 2 - Don’t speak English with non-native speakers with the same rapidity and idioms you would with a fellow native speaker. Put yourself in their shoes. Furthermore, often the resident English-speaking staff have a very narrow range of vocabulary and phrases -- if you are making them stretch in terms of their English comprehension, do so slowly and verify understanding.

DON’T # 3 - Don’t ever get mentally anchored by the list price!

DON'T # 4 - Don't glom onto the first English-speaking person you encounter.

DON'T # 5 - Don't glom onto the first potential supplier you encounter.

DON’T # 6 - Do not rely on only one vendor.

DON'T # 7 - Don't rely on contracts and agreements that are cookie-cutter copies of said that you use in your home country. Such agreements must be adapted linguistically and culturally for China.

DON'T # 8 - Don't assume that negotiations are finalized once agreements are reached. China has developed with a focus on the "Rule of Man" (and Relationships) and not the "Rule of Law." As such, even in modern times, contracts are seen as temporary milestones at best. You should be prepared mentally and emotionally for the reopening of settled issues at all times.

DON'T # 9 - Don't engage in rough drinking and glutinous eating with your potential suppliers -- unless you want to. Chinese suppliers want to do business with you and in modern times, they might be just as happy to eschew after-hours merrymaking as you might be in your home country.

DON'T # 10 - Don’t release your Chinese translations until they are verified by native Chinese speakers.

There are more "Dont's." I'll share more thoughts in future blog posts.

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