business culture

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Be Prepared: Five Important First Steps for Setting up your Business in China

Compared to the fast-paced explicit processes which dominate Western business, starting a company in China can be a headache.  Combine extensive legal work with a social system opposite of your own and even the most experienced businessmen and women are in for a challenge. 

However, establishing a presence in China continues to be a profitable move for entities in every business sector. With endless resources at your disposal, how to begin gets confusing.  We’ve stripped away all the particulars and provided you with a basic idea.

The following list highlights five steps that your business needs to properly complete before beginning operations in China.

Think about how your business will fit into each section and most importantly, think of the relationships you can and will establish along the way. To succeed, you need sturdy connections to lean on during every step. Finally, be patient. Remember everything takes time in Chinese business culture.

 

1. Research, research, research

Begin by investigating the industry and areas you are interested in. Government officials publish a five-year plan stating the specific kinds of businesses they are looking for. Make sure to use it.

When you have an idea of the best place for your business, take a trip. Don’t stay in one place; compare other regions. Start making observations. Attend trade shows. Network.

2. Decide which entity is best for you

There are three kinds of business entities you can register for. Consider your particular business scope and decide which entity will supply you with the most opportunity and least amount of risk. The three potential business entities are:

i. Representative Office (RO)
– significantly limits what your company can do
– easiest to open

ii. Joint Venture (JV)
– your Chinese partner will have a home field advantage
– JVs create greater risk should the partnership fail
– only entity in which a “restricted” business can operate
– less limitation

iii. Wholly Owned Foreign Enterprise (WOFE)
– allows foreign entrepreneurs to own 100% of the company
– requires an extensive set-up process with registered capital
– can operate as trading and retail companies

3. Develop a five-year business plan

Be precise but be broad. Once your business plan has been finalized, you are only able to operate within its guidelines.

Note: Protecting your intellectual property is important. If you plan to trademark your company or product, act early and do so in both Chinese and English.

4. Apply for approval with your local authority

Necessary documents can vary depending on where and with who you are doing business. Be sure to comply with the regulations specific to your location. The documents must be converted to Chinese by a reliable translation company. Applications can take up to 90 days to be approved.

5. Find a bank

Once you have approval, you have 30 days to register with the Chinese Administration for Industry and Commerce (AIC) and apply for a business license. Once you have the license, you will be able to open a Chinese bank account.

 

Know more: Authenticating your US documents to be used in China

With these five steps complete, you have solidified a foundation.  Now it is time to focus on the particulars.  Exactly which way to go next will depend on your specific business plan.  Again, this can get confusing; but Incorp China is here to help.  Whether your next step is filing a trademark, registering for an ICP License, or finding a general manager and employees you can trust, we know how to get it done right.

 

“The time is now. Be part of the process as China becomes tomorrow’s economic powerhouse.”

Ready to expand your business and break into China’s upcoming markets? Call now for a consultation with an IncorpChina team member, and establish your most important relationship in China success.

+1 561 729 6508 | info@incorpchina.com

 

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Once in China, Do as the Chinese Do

 

Considering the dramatic cultural differences from the West, doing business in China can be difficult.  How well you adapt to the deeply rooted Chinese customs will profoundly influence the success of your business.

In China, cultural competence takes time. Business culture is very traditional, involving behaviors and beliefs that date back over 5000 years. That said, having a local representative who clearly understands both sides is crucial.

 

You will quickly learn:

Guanxi is everything. Defined as the connections and relationships which facilitate business and commerce, this is the most critical aspect of Chinese business culture. Cultivating strong relationships is the first step towards any Chinese market.  To properly establish Guanxi, awareness of and compliance with the following aspects of Chinese business culture should be the primary focus of all companies.

 

1. Basic Communication

In China, even at the most fundamental level, we find a tone language entirely different from common western dialects. Having someone able to communicate in a native Chinese tongue will be favored and seen as a sign of respect.

Clear communication by your host country’s standards may translate rudely in China. While the individualistic mindset of Western business fosters the idea of speaking up, of using as many words necessary to communicate one’s point, China business culture favors extreme modesty.

Furthermore, there are considerable differences in both verbal and non-verbal communication.

To name a few:
• Greetings and pleasantries differ
• Chinese names are reversed compared to western names
• Eye-contact is not necessarily a sign of respect
• Casual talk is a necessary precursor to business

2. Collectivist Culture

Westerners often view themselves as highly independent entities, whereas in China, an interdependent mindset is essential. China’s workforce is built on discipline and corporation, where the group always takes priority over the individual.

To showcase one’s commitment to the bigger picture, one is expected to act in a calm collective manner at all times. They should listen with intent and always be heedful to the needs of others.

3. Hierarchal Society

In China, hierarchy holds true, and status is power. Seniority must always be respected.

Especially in the decision-making process, seniority dictates authority and patience is pivotal. Decisions made with haste will be seen as insulting. Even simple matters are expected to be processed by multiple people until eventually, the manager with the highest status decides on a verdict.

4. Saving Face or giving face, especially in the midst of conflict

The concept of face, or miànzi, is an essential abstract notion that governs all social interaction in Chinese culture.

Extreme emphasis is placed on harmony and public dignity. People are expected to further these values by “giving face” or “saving face.”

To give or save face, extensive etiquette must be applied to all interactions. Composure is key. Limit expression to what is appropriate, and continuously consult a trusted Chinese representative on how to behave.

Especially in the midst of conflict, the art of “face” is vital. No matter the issue, maintaining face will always be the most pressing concern. You will find, negotiations often preserve harmony, and consequently save face, by implicitly working around a conflict, as opposed to confronting it straight on.

Such diversity may be overwhelming at first, but with patience and the right representatives, this highly educated, highly capable business atmosphere will generate authentic and successful long-term foundations.

“The time is now. Be part of the process as China becomes tomorrow’s economic powerhouse.”

 

 

Know more: How Important Is To Have Local Representatives In China?

Ready to expand your business and break into China’s upcoming markets? Call now for a consultation with an IncorpChina team member, and establish your most important relationship in China success.

+1 561 729 6508 | info@incorpchina.com

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