We’ve all seen the headlines about growing Chinese investment around the world and New Zealand is certainly no exception. Although you may already have been in business for years and have a great deal of experience, if you want to be truly successful with a Chinese counterparty then there are some key cultural differences which you should take on board. With that in mind we have set out some points to be aware of when you’re dealing with Chinese investors.
Key cultural differences
Many Asian cultures emphasise indirect communication, particularly if there is a problem. This can be frustrating for Westerners who would prefer just to ‘get it on the table’ and discuss. An email worded to state, ‘… we value the fact that we are equal partners …’ may be phrased that way because they are not feeling like an equal partner and are hoping the situation will improve. That subtlety may well be completely lost on the Western recipient who may be later surprised to find out that all is not as it seemed.
You can deal with a situation such as this by spending time asking questions of the other side and seeking to really understand what they are thinking. If you get a response which seems indirect then that’s a signal that you should follow up with other questions.