The People’s Republic of China opened its market to the rest of the world at the end of 70ties. This fast growing market with more than one milliard consumers represents nowadays an extremely interesting destination for activities of international trade companies. That is why more and more authors try to get tounderstand deeper Chinese business environment, business practices and negotiation style of Chinese partners within B2B.
Key factors which must never be mixed with each other but have to be taken into account while doing business with Chinese counterparts. Chinese culture, philosophy, social psychology and Chinese way of thinking are fundamentally different from “western” conception.
1.Culture and negotiation
Culture and negotiation are very complex terms. Culture is a set of learned behavior and its results, particular parts of which are shared and handed over by members of a concrete society. Negotiation is a process when two or more parties try to solve seemingly contradictory aims. We negotiate continuously with customers, suppliers, trade unions, family members, actually witheveryone we meet. Negotiation can be divided into eight following phases: 1) preparation, 2) argumentation, 3) sending signals, 4) proposal, 5) offer, 6) bargaining, 7) conclusion and 8) agreement. At the moment of negotiation the negotiator must be perfectly aware of his maximal and minimal goals. Key role plays the ability to solve conflicts, to find a compromise and to deal with culturaldifferences in case of a cross-cultural negotiation. Negotiation always includes the risk and probability of a conflict therefore it is necessary to protect friendly relationships consciously.
2. The influence of Chinese philosophies on the nowadays ́ Chinese population behavior, value patterns
While considering Chinese philosophies influencing nowadays ́ Chinese behavior, following three have tobe mentioned: Confucianism, Taoism – both of them originally Chinese and Buddhism – with its origin in India.
Confucianism focuses on interpersonal relations; Taoism on living in harmony with nature and Buddhism faces the human immortal life. Chinese do understand those philosophies more as doctrines than religions, which enables them to follow all three. In better words, depending on a concretesituation Chinese are able to behave according to that one of them which fits best.
Confucian thoughts influenced the way of thinking and forms of behavior not only of the Chinese but of the whole eastern-Asian population. It is a moral, ethical and practical teaching, which is based on the belief in the moral base of human population and is basically a set ofinstructions telling how to be a good and an honorable person. It considers interpersonal relations and human behavior. (Tu, 1984) Goodness, propriety, gentleness, honesty, humanity are fundamental virtues.
Its roots in Taoism have the so-called WuWei principle of behavior and management – not to push but avoid conflicts. WuWei principle also known as a “do nothing” principle pointsout the superiority of using wisdom and non- direct tools to overplay the partner in comparison with a direct fight.
3. How to make a negotiation with Chinese counterparts easier
While considering elements influencing the culture of Chinese business negotiation (international trade environment in China: Chinese political system, economic planning system, decision making strategies,bureaucracy, legal environment geographical position, specific technology development and Chinese culture: philosophies, social psychology and Chinese way of thinking) a number of good practices follows.
• Interpersonal relations Mutual trust, keeping face and developing interpersonal relationships are fundamental. It is very useful to communicate through a mediator – a third party. The right choice...