China is the world’s second largest economy and the speed and depth of change in the past
30 years is phenomenal. Simcocks director Irini Newby has recently returned and reflects on
some of the cultural and language barriers that have to be considered.
As Europe continues to be caught up in a financial maelstrom businesses see the significant opportunities in China as increasingly attractive.
With a headcount of more than 1.3 billion and 270 cities with a population of more than 1 million this complex market has seen a rapid transformation and the emergence of a fast-growing consumer market. But competition, business etiquette, culture, protocol and language make it a particularly hard nut to crack.
Simcocks has a number of longstanding clients in China and the good relationship that exists between them has been developed over nearly a decade. A recent trade mission to China which included Simcocks, KPMG, Dandara, IM Gold, Duke Marketing, the International Centre for Technology and members of the government laid out how the Isle of Man can support the global vision of Chinese businesses. It is hoped ties will be further strengthened when Chinese delegations visit the Island in the coming months.
Head of Simcocks Corporate and Commercial department, Irini Newby said: “Getting to really know someone is an essential part of doing business in China. Only through face to face meetings can you build trust which is a vital element to developing work there. The Chinese set great store on building personal relationships before entering into a business partnership. You can expect your first few visits to China to simply be the first period of a long game (football and basketball are their favourites). Introductions via a trusted intermediary can play a valuable role in opening doors but there are no shortcuts to relationship building.”
Deeply ingrained in Chinese culture is guanxi (pronounced gwan shee) which are incredibly strong social and business connections based on mutual interest and benefit. Guanxi is regarded as a two-way relationship that must be maintained through regular contact and it is custom for Chinese people to cultivate an intricate web of guanxi relationships, which may expand in a huge number of directions.
Download the full article here: Doing business in China