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Business Opportunities in China for Foreigners

Introduction

Why do Asians work so hard? This is one question that most westerners can answer. Currently, China is considered to be the most hardworking nation in the world. This is probably due to the Chinese culture work ethic which has trained the Chinese people always to work hard. Therefore, if you are a foreigner in China, you should be prepared to cope with China working hours.

Well, this article contains everything about Chinese work culture, working with Chinese co-workers, Chinese business culture vs. American business culture, and China working hours. Therefore, you won’t have any problems in adjusting to the working hours in China.

What are the Benefits of Doing Business in China?

With a population of at least 1 billion people, China offers many business opportunities to foreigners. To begin with, China is the largest exporter and importer of goods worldwide. To sweeten the deal, most western countries rely on China for cheaper goods and services. Therefore, foreigners can move to China, start their own business and export their products to their home country. Also, the Chinese currency is very friendly to most western companies – investing in Yuan is cheaper than investing in USD.

Chinese Business Culture vs. American Business Culture

Business people who do business exclusively in the USA would think that American business culture is a worldwide phenomenon. However, there are different cultures which may teach you different values. For instance, the Chinese business culture will teach you how to say hardworking in Chinese. Here are some differences between the Chinese and American business cultures.

Communication

The styles of communication in these two cultures are very different. For instance, hard working Chinese students find westerners to be very upfront when speaking. In most cases, this has caused a misunderstanding between the Chinese people and Westerners especially if the Chinese are very sensitive.

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On the other hand, American business culture encourages people to defend their ideas which may result in a debate or confrontation that aims at making the other person agree with you. Some Chinese people will nod to your opinion even if they don’t agree with your ideas. They do so as a sign of honor and respect to others’ opinions.

Individualism vs. Collectivism

Westerners or Americans are known to put great emphasis on individuality. According to them, your personal goals should be more prioritised than the ones of your team or co-workers, they believe that individualism makes people more ambitious.

In contrast, the Chinese business culture encourages people to make their decisions based on how they will affect the people around them. The Chinese people think of themselves in a collective manner – their friends, family, colleagues, co-workers, etc.

Economics vs. Relationship

American business culture concentrates more on efficiency and speed. Social interactions aren’t that important in any business dealing. However, in China, people prefer building social networks before closing a deal. This is how it goes; relationship first, then trust, then the business. This is probably why most foreigners in China have to attend some business meetings with the Chinese before the deal is closed.

On Saving Face

Chinese people are known to take things personally and hate losing face. They are also known to remember both humiliations and favours. The main reason why Chinese people don’t express how they feel is that they don’t want to be seen as fools or they lack self-control. However, Americans express their thoughts freely and don’t mind making mistakes. In fact, they believe that making mistakes is a part of the learning process.

Why Do Asians Work So Hard?

The Chinese or Asians work so hard that westerners want to learn how to say hardworking in Chinese. Here are some reasons as to why the Chinese work so hard:

· The Chinese work culture values hard work. For instance, there are some Chinese proverbs that praise hardworking people.

· Parents are compelled to exert more pressure on their children to succeed. This is what makes hard working Chinese students different from their Western classmates.

· Desire to find a status in a new society. This applies to Chinese people living in America.

· They believe that talent can be learned.

· The Asian society expects them to excel in everything they do.

· To bring honour and pride to the family. As mentioned earlier, Chinese people think collectively.

China’s Working Hours

The Chinese government stipulates that every worker should work for 5 days per week with a maximum of 8 hours/day. The working days are usually Monday to Friday while Saturdays and Sundays are off. The Chinese work between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm every day with a lunch break from 12 noon to 2:00 pm.

It’s important to note that the working hours will depend on the company’s policy. For instance, offices and banks are open from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm while hospitals and hotels offer round-the-clock services i.e. from 8:30 am to past 10:00 pm.

Working with Chinese Coworkers

Most westerners have a problem when it comes to working with Chinese co-workers. Honestly, the Chinese are the best people to work with. Why? They put friendship before money and they’re very hardworking. If you want to relate well with your Chinese colleagues at work, you should:

· Learn and understand the core values of Chinese people. Go through the Chinese business etiquette to know how the Chinese show each other respect.

· Know that the Chinese don’t like saying NO. They prefer changing the subject or saying maybe.

· When a Chinese colleague says ‘YES, YES’ in English, it doesn’t mean what a westerner would mean. It means he/she is listening to what you’re saying but doesn’t understand. Therefore, you should be very careful when you hear the words YES, YES.

· Don’t lose your temper with or criticise your Chinese workmate in public. A losing face is one of the worst ways to insult someone in China.

· According to the Chinese, result is everything. The process is less important. This doesn’t mean that the end justifies the means.

· Try promoting open culture. This ensures that your Chinese colleagues speak up in meetings.

Conclusion

There are many business opportunities in China for foreigners. However, you need to know the Chinese business etiquette, China working hours and Chinese culture work ethic if you want to excel. If you are a foreign student, try borrowing some tips from hard working Chinese students.

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