Business Negotiation in China

Since the expectation of negotiators from different cultures may not be the same, there might be misunderstandings. The goal should be to try to understand each other to meet in the middle. In locations in East Asia, such as China, the differences are staggering and intercultural communication should be taught to the negotiators.

Chinese business professionals are loyal to their traditional culture in addition to watching Westerners. The procedure toward the outcome is noted more than in Western culture so the negotiators can get to know each other. If this isn’t done properly, the negotiations will be hindered. Consider meeting your business counterpart in the type of way that you would meet a significant other’s family or a new friend. If you don’t spend time with them to build a relationship, they aren’t able to see that you are a good person with good morals.

The Chinese pay attention to social norms, a balance between too much and too little, morals and humility. In a Chinese family, keeping the standard way that things have always been done, keeps order. Don’t overstep your position, and try to avoid direct statements as they sound demanding.

Loss of “face” is an important during the act of negotiation. As hierarchy is prevalent in their culture, a Western CEO shouldn’t cause a Chinese person to lose face, especially in front of subordinates. This can occur without thinking about it, such as correcting them on a figure. Likewise, a Chinese person will rarely deny someone to his or her face, rather they will give a nod, due to the fact that they don’t want the person to lose face. A nod doesn’t mean agreement, rather comprehension of what the person thinks.

Many differences occur during negotiation due to language and cultural difficulties. Language levels by Chinese businessmen are very low, so many Chinese businessmen tend to use business translators due to possible cultural miscommunications. Differences will be due to low language level, confusion about body language, misunderstood Western values, and unique ways of thinking during negotiation.
Jiang, Y. (2013). Business negotiation culture in china A game theoretic approach. International Business Research, 6(3), 109-116. Retrieved from


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