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I4M Country profile china (in english)

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This document was created for the Project Info4migrants. Project number: UK/13/LLP-LdV/TOI-615

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I4M Country profile china (in english)

  1. 1. 1 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com Info4Migrants CHINA Country profile Project number: UK/13/LLP-LdV/TOI-615
  2. 2. 2 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com 9,596,961km2 1,357,380,000 bln POPULATION GDPper capita CURRENCY $6,959 Languages STANDARD CHINESE, and other languages spoken by 56 recognized ethnic groups Yuan (CNY) 2 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  3. 3. 3 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com COUNTRY BACKGROUND Capital: Beijing. Besides Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, there around 20 mega cities of modern infrastructures, a vari- ety of entertainment, and population over 5 million. Climate: extremely diverse; tropical in south to subarctic in north Ethnic Make-up: Han Chinese 91.9%, Zhuang, Uygur, Hui, Yi, Tibetan, Miao, Manchu, Mongol, Buyi, Korean, and other na- tionalities 8.1% Religions: Daoist (Taoist), Buddhist, Muslim 1%-2%, Christian 3%-4% Government: Communist state Language: Chinese is spoken by 92% of China’s population. There are at least seven major families of the Chinese lan- guage, including Mandarin, Cantonese, Wu, Hakka, Gan, Xiang, and Min Time zones: Despite its size, all of China is in one time zone National Flag National emblem China Beijing MONGOLIA RUSSIA KAZAKHSTAN INDIA BURMA
  4. 4. 4 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com CHINA FACTS The country and the capital The modern word “China” most likely derives from the name of the Qin (pronounced “chin”) dynasty. First Emperor Qin Shi Huang (260-210 B.C.) of the Qin dynas- ty first unified China in 221 B.C., beginning an Imperial period which would last until A.D. 1912. The name of China’s capital has changed over the centuries. At one time or another it has been known as Yanjing, Dadu, and Beiping. Peking or “Beijing” means “Northern Capital.” Beijing is the officially sanctioned pinyin spelling based on the Mandarin dialect. Beijing is the second largest city after Shanghai. Collectivism vs. Individualism In general, the Chinese are a collective society with a need for group affiliation, whether to their family, school, work group, or country. In order to maintain a sense of harmony, they will act with decorum at all times and will not do any- thing to cause someone else public embarrassment. They are willing to subjugate their own feelings for the good of the group. Non-Verbal Communication Chinese non-verbal communication speaks volumes. Since the Chinese strive for harmony and are group de- pendent, they rely on facial expression, tone of voice and posture to tell them what someone feels. Frowning while someone is speaking is interpreted as a sign of disagreement. Therefore, most Chinese maintain an impassive expression when speaking. It is considered disrespectful to stare into an- other person’s eyes. In crowded situations, the Chinese avoid eye contact to give themselves privacy. 4 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  5. 5. 5 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com CHINA FACTS Chinese characters There are 40,000 plus characters in the Chinese lan- guage. An educated adult will only get to learn 5,000 of them. You need to know 900–2,000 Chinese characters to be able to read a Chinese newspaper. Internet restrictions At present, many Web sites, such as Google and Facebook are blocked by what is called the Great Firewall of China. Other sites that cannot be accessed in China are Youtube, Picasa, Twitter, Wordpress, Dropbox and many others. Language Chinese is not a single language but many languages and di- alects, some completely unintelligible to one another. There are 56 ethnic groups in China who speak a total of around 290 languages. Mandarin Chinese is the country standard, spoken by about 850-900 million people. This is followed by Wu at about 90 million and Cantonese at about 80 million. 5 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  6. 6. 6 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com CHINA FACTS Silk The Chinese have made silk since at least 3,000 B.C. The Romans knew China as “Serica,” which means “Land of Silk.” The Chinese fiercely guarded the secrets of silk making, and anyone caught smuggling silkworm eggs or cocoons outside of China was put to death. According to a Chinese legend, silk was discovered in 3000 B.C. by Lady Xi Ling Sui, wife of the Emperor Huang Di. When a silk worm cocoon accidentally dropped into her hot tea, fine threads from the cocoon unravelled in the hot water and silk was born. Chinese New Year The most important holiday in China is the Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year. Chinese traditionally believe that every person turns one year older on the New Year and, thus, that day is considered to be everyone’s birthday. Red is considered a lucky colour in China, and New Year’s banners, clothing, and lucky money envelopes are red. Ancient inventions The ancient Chinese invented many things we still use today. Their inventions include the wheel, paper, silk, matches, gunpowder, porcelain, china, fireworks, medi- cines, kites, tea, the umbrella, jump ropes, ink, the cross- bow, and ice cream amongst others. 6 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  7. 7. 7 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com 1 January: New Year’s Day The beginning of a new year based on the Gregorian cal- endar. Starts on 21 January - 20 February: Spring Festival The festival falls on the first day of the first lunar month (always somewhere between January 21 – February 20), and ends with Lantern Festi- val which is on the 15th day. This holiday, widely known as Chinese New Year in the West, is the most important traditional festival in Chi- na. Firework shows, dragon dancing and lion dancing are the most common Chinese New Year activities. Chinese New Year is a time for fami- lies to be together. April 4 or 5: Qingming Festival Also called Tomb Sweep- ing Day or Pure Brightness. Tomb Sweeping Day is a time for various activities, and the more popular ones are tomb sweeping, spring outings, and kite flying. 1 May: May Day China’s celebration of Inter- national Labor Day. 5th day of the 5th month of Chinese lunar calendar: Dragon Boat Festival A traditional Chinese festival with activities such as drag- on boat racing and eating zongzi (sticky rice wrapped in leaves). Moveable date in Autumn: Mid-Autumn Festival Mid-Autumn Festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese calendar, which is in Septem- ber or early October in the Gregorian calendar. A day for Chinese family reunions and a harvest festival in China. October 1: National Day The celebration of the founding of the People’s Re- public of China. The National Day is celebrated throughout mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau with a variety of government-organized fes- tivities, including fireworks and concerts. The Chinese New Year and National Day holidays are three days long. The week- long holidays on May Day and National Day began in 2000, as a measure to in- crease and encourage holi- day spending. The resulting seven-day holidays are called “Golden Weeks” and have become peak seasons for travel and tourism. In 2008, the Labor Day holiday was shortened to one day, and instead three tradition- al Chinese holidays were added. PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
  8. 8. 8 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com CHINA FACTS …China is often considered the longest continuous civilization, with some histo- rians marking 6000 B.C. as the dawn of Chinese civilization. It also has the world’s longest continuously used written lan- guage. …China is the fourth largest country in the world (after Russia, Canada, and the U.S.). It has an area of 3,719,275 square miles (slightly smaller than the U.S.) and its borders with other countries total more than 117,445 miles. Approximately 5,000 islands lie off the Chinese coast. …China’s national flag was adopted in Sep- tember 1949 and first flown in Tiananmen Square (the world’s largest public gather- ing place) on October 1, 1949, the day the People’s Republic of China was formed. The red in the flag symbolizes revolution. The large star symbolizes communism and the little stars represent the Chinese peo- ple. …One in every five people in the world is Chinese. China’s population is estimated to reach a whopping 1,338,612,968 by July 2009. China’s population is four times that of the United States. …The early Chinese emperors kept giant pandas to ward off evil spirits and natural disasters. China owns all the pandas and any panda outside of China is on lease. …The Chinese were using the decimal system as early as the fourteenth century B.C., nearly 2,300 years before the first known use of the system in European mathematics. The Chinese were also the first to use a place for zero. Chinese math- ematics evolved independently of Greek mathematics and is consequently of great interest to historians of mathematics. …In 1974, a group of farmers digging for a well in the Shaanxi province uncovered some bits of very old pottery. They discov- ered the tomb of Qin (259-210 B.C.), the first emperor who united China. The tomb contained thousands of amazing life-sized soldiers, horses, and chariots. …The bicycle was introduced into China around 1891 by two American travellers named Allen and Sachtleben. The bicy- cle is now the primary transportation for millions of Chinese. The last Qing emperor (Puyi) rode a bicycle around the Forbidden City in Beijing. China is currently the lead- ing bicycle manufacturer. …The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing were the most expensive games in histo- ry. While the 2004 Athens Games were estimated to cost around $15 billion, the Beijing Games were estimated to cost a whopping $40 billion. … The number of birth defects in China continues to rise. Environmentalist and officials blame China’s severe pollution …White, rather than black, is the Chinese colour for mourning and funerals. 8 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  9. 9. 9 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com In the late 1970s, the Chinese government introduced a number of measures to re- duce the country’s birth rate and slow the population growth rate. The most import- ant of the new measures was a one-child policy, which decreed that couples in China could only have one child. Previous Chinese governments had en- couraged people to have a lot of children to increase the country’s workforce. But by the 1970s the government realised that current rates of population growth would soon become unsustainable. The one-child policy, established in 1979, meant that each couple was allowed just one child. Benefits included increased ac- cess to education for all, plus childcare and healthcare offered to families that followed this rule. Problems with enforcing the policy: • Those who had more than one child didn’t receive these benefits and were fined. • The policy was keenly resisted in rural ar- eas, where it was traditional to have large families. • In urban areas, the policy has been en- forced strictly, but remote rural areas have been harder to control. Many people claim that some women, who became pregnant after they had already had a child, were forced to have an abor- tion and many women were forcibly steril- ised. Impact of the policy The birth rate in China has fallen since 1979, and the rate of population growth is now 0.7 per cent. There have been negative impacts too – due to a preference for boys for traditional reasons, large numbers of female babies have ended up homeless or in orphanages, and in some cases killed. In 2000, it was re- ported that 90 per cent of foetuses aborted in China were female. As a result, the gender balance of the Chinese population has become distorted. Today it is believed that men outnumber women by more than 60 million. Long-term implications China’s one-child policy has been some- what more relaxed in recent years. Couples can now apply to have a second child if their first child is a girl, or if both parents themselves are only children. While China’s population is now rising more slowly, it still has a very large total population (1.3 billion in 2008) and China faces new problems, including: • the falling birth rate – leading to a rise in the relative number of elderly people • fewer people of working age to support the growing number of elderly dependants – in the future, China could have an ageing population. ONE-CHILD POLICY 9 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  10. 10. 10 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com • China’s economy grew 7 times as fast as America’s over the past decade (316% growth vs. 43%) • China’s GDP per capita is the 91st-lowest in the world, below Bosnia & Herzegovina • 85% of artificial Christmas trees are made in China, so are 80 percent of toys • China has more pigs than the next 43 pork-producing countries combined • Chinese consume 50,000 cigarettes every second • America’s fastest high speed train goes less than half as fast as the new train be- tween Shanghai and Beijing (240 km/h vs 485 km/h) • China’s enormous Gobi Desert is the size of Peru and expanding 1,400 square miles per year due to water source depletion, over-foresting, and over-grazing • China has 64 million vacant homes, including entire cities that are empty • The world’s biggest mall is in China, but it has been 99% empty since 2005 • Nearly 10,000 Chinese citizens each year are sucked into unsanctioned ‘black jails’ • By 2030, China will have more new city-dwellers than the entire U.S. population. • China executes three times as many people as the rest of the world combined, with at least 1,718 executions in 2008 • When you buy Chinese stocks, you are financing the Chinese government, as 8 of Shanghai’s top 10 stocks are government owned • China uses 45 billion chopsticks per year • 200 million people in China live on less than $1 a day • China is not free from Europe’s medieval plague yet •China’s Grand Canal is the world’s oldest and longest canal at 1,114 miles (1,795 km) long with 24 locks and around 60 bridges. AMAZING STATISTICS 10 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  11. 11. 11 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com IMPORTANT TIPS No Chinese find “no” difficult to say. They may say “maybe” or “we’ll see” in order to save face. Forcing the Chinese to say “no” will quickly end a relationship. The name of the country Always refer to China as “China” or “Peo- ple’s Republic of China,” never as “Red China,” “Communist China” or “Mainland China.” Always refer to Taiwan as “Taiwan” or “Province of Taiwan,” never “China,” “Republic of China” (the name adapted by the Nationalist forces after they fled to Taiwan) or “Free China”. Do not in any way suggest that Taiwan is not part of China. Older people Show respect for older people. Offer a seat or right of way through the door to a col- league or older person as a polite gesture. Personal questions Do not be insulted if the Chinese ask per- sonal questions, such as “How much mon- ey do you make?”, “How many children do you have?” or “Are you married?” Just change the subject if you do not want to answer. Especially for Women China is a difficult place for anyone to con- duct business. A woman may gain accep- tance, but it will take time and will not be easy. China is a male-dominated society. How- ever, there are many women in business in China and some occupy high-ranking posi- tions and important managerial jobs. One of the principles of the Chinese communist system is to work toward sexual equality. Chinese people are delighted if you make any attempt to speak Manda- rin, even if it’s only a couple of words. The best way to introduce your- self is with a warm, broad smile. Even when you might be upset or frus- trated, smile. It works.
  12. 12. 12 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com IMPORTANT TIPS Negotiating teams may have female mem- bers. Women may be used to decline un- popular proposals. Businesswomen attend business dinners, but rarely bring their spouses. Chinese women rare- ly smoke or drink. However, it is acceptable for Western women to do so moderately. Silence Silence is used effectively. Not talking while others do signifies politeness. Silence in meetings and during discussions gives one the opportunity to carefully con- sider what is being said and formulate an appropriate response. Resist the urge to fill the silence and continue talking. The Chinese concept of privacy differs significantly from that in the West, where people are used to having their own space, office, room. The Chinese are not accustomed to this luxury. Privacy to them relates to their own thoughts and emotions that they proudly keep to themselves. Social Distance Every culture defines proper distance. Westerners, particularly Americans, find that the Chinese comfort zone regarding distance is a bit too close for their comfort. Westerners may instinctively back up when others invade their space. Do not be sur- prised to find that the Chinese will simply step closer. Touching The Chinese do not like to be touched, par- ticularly by strangers. Do not hug, back slap or put an arm around someone’s shoulder. Do not be offended if you are pushed and shoved in a line. In some circumstances, the Chinese do not practice the art of lining up, and courtesy to strangers in public places is not required. People of the same sex may walk hand-in- hand as a gesture of friendship in China.
  13. 13. 13 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com IMPORTANT TIPS Gestures & Customs • Do not point with your index finger, use an open hand instead • Do not use your index finger to call some- one, use the hand with fingers motioning downward as in waving. • Do not snap fingers • Do not put feet on a desk or coffee table. It is rude to show the soles of the shoes • Do not whistle • Use both hands when handing someone an object, such as a teacup, a gift, or a busi- ness card Chinese customs that are confusing to Westerners: • Waving the hand in front of the face to indicate “no” • Pointing to the nose to indicate “oneself,” rather than to the chest • Girls covering one’s face and giggling to show embarrassment • Chinese customs that are annoying to Westerners: • Belching or spitting on the street • Lack of consideration when smoking and failure to ask permission to smoke • Staring at foreigners, particularly in remote areas • Slurping food or making noises while eat- ing • Talking while eating • Eating in public places that are not desig- nated for food • Pushing in crowded areas such as railway stations or bus stop Laughter Although laughter is the response to some- thing humorous, it can also mean someone feels uncomfortable, or in a situation where they do not know how to respond. Consider the situation.
  14. 14. 14 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com Deeply rooted in Chinese society is the need to belong and conform to a unit, whether the family, a political party or an organization. The family is the focus of life for most Chinese. Age and rank are highly respected. However, to the dismay of older people, to- day’s young people are rapidly modernizing, wearing blue jeans and sunglasses, drink- ing Coke and driving motorbikes. Body Language The Chinese dislike being touched by strang- ers. Do not touch, hug, lock arms, back slap or make any body contact. Clicking fingers or whistling is considered very rude. Never gesture or pass an object with your feet. Blowing one’s nose in a handkerchief and returning it to one’s pocket is considered vulgar by the Chinese. To beckon a Chinese person, face the palm of your hand downward and move your fin- gers in a scratching motion. Never use your index finger to beckon anyone. Sucking air in quickly and loudly through lips and teeth expresses distress or surprise at a proposed request. Attempt to change your request, allowing the Chinese to save face. Chinese point with an open hand. Never point with your index finger. Meeting and Greeting Shake hands upon meeting. Chinese may nod or bow instead of shaking hands, al- though shaking hands has become increas- ingly common. When introduced to a Chinese group, they may greet you with applause. Applaud back. Senior persons begin greetings. Greet the oldest, most senior person before others. During group introductions, line up accord- ing to seniority with the senior person at the head of the line. PEOPLE IN CHINA
  15. 15. 15 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com CHINESE ETIQUETTE Meeting Etiquette Greetings are formal and the oldest person is always greeted first. Handshakes are the most common form of greeting with foreigners. Many Chinese will look towards the ground when greeting someone. Address the person by an honorific title and their surname. If they want to move to a first-name basis, they will advise you which name to use. The Chinese have a terrific sense of humour. They can laugh at themselves most readily if they have a comfortable relationship with the other person. Be ready to laugh at your- self given the proper circumstances. Gift Giving Etiquette Four is an unlucky number so do not give four of anything. Eight is the luckiest number, so giving eight of something brings luck to the recipient. Gifts are not opened when received. Do not give scissors, knives or other cutting utensils, as they indicate the sev- ering of the relationship. Do not give clocks, handkerchiefs or straw sandals, as they are associated with funerals and death. Do not give flowers, as many Chinese associate these with funerals. Do not wrap gifts in white, blue or black paper. Dining Etiquette The Chinese prefer to entertain in public places rather than in their homes, especially when entertaining for- eigners. If you are invited to their house, consider it a great honour. If you must turn down such an honour, it is considered polite to explain the conflict in your schedule so that your actions are not taken as a slight. Arrive on time. Remove your shoes before entering the house. Bring a small gift to the hostess. Eat well to demonstrate that you are enjoying the food!
  16. 16. 16 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com Tipping Etiquette Tipping is becoming more commonplace, es- pecially with younger workers, although older workers still consider it an insult. Leaving a few coins is usually sufficient. Table manners Learn to use chopsticks. Wait to be told where to sit. The guest of hon- our will be given a seat facing the door. The host begins eating first. You should try everything that is offered to you. Never eat the last piece from the serving tray. Be observant to other peoples’ needs. Chopsticks should be returned to the chopstick rest after every few bites and when you drink or stop to speak. The host offers the first toast. Do not put bones in your bowl. Place them on the table or in a special bowl for that purpose. Hold the rice bowl close to your mouth while eating. Do not be offended if a Chinese person makes slurping or belching sounds; it merely indicates that they are enjoying their food. CHINESE ETIQUETTE In most traditional Chinese dining, dishes are communal. Although both square and rectangular tables are used for small groups of people, round tables are preferred for large groups, particularly in restau- rants, in order to permit easy sharing.
  17. 17. 17 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com DOS AND DON’TS Nǐ chē le ma? Ask locals if they have already eaten their meal when greeting them. Chinese often use a very common phrase “Nǐ chē le ma?” which literally means “Have you already eaten?” You might find this routine odd, but food plays a great role in the life of Chinese people, and asking if they are not hungry is a sign of kindness and concern. Don’t be surprised to see, and feel pushing and shoving everywhere The Chinese have little knowledge of queu- ing and personal space. If you leave a gap in a queue because of your personal space, someone will fill it. Don’t expose your body When in China, you should not wear very short shorts when going to school or enter- ing a temple. Showing your legs or neckline can shock many locals, especially the old ones, so always make sure you look neat and modest. Don’t be offended by the Chinese Locals will often say “you are fat,” “you should wear more clothes, it’s getting cold” and also ask how much you earn and how old your girlfriend or boyfriend is. They are only interested in showing that they care about you and are not trying to offend you. Don’t draw attention to yourself in a negative way As a foreigner, you will grab everyone’s attention, but things like behaving abusively will get you noticed far more and for the wrong reasons. Be punctual Chinese can’t stand unpunctual people. If you make an appointment with someone, make sure you show up on time. Other- wise, it might be perceived as something extremely disrespectful. Don’t leave your chopsticks upright in your bowl or tap your bowl with them This is the way a bowl of rice is offered to the spirit of a dead person, at their death- bed or in front of their photograph on the household Buddhist altar. Moreover, It’s also not considered to be very good form to cross the working ends of your chopsticks while eating, so you should pay attention to how you use them when eating. Greet older people first When you greet someone much older than you in China, you should lower your head in order to show respect and recognition. When you meet someone your age, you should first wave, then smile and say “Ni hao!” which means “Hello!” Unlike some Western countries, Chinese do not ac- cept hugs or kisses as a form of greeting. 17 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  18. 18. 18 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com DON’TS Never accept a compliment graciously You may find yourself at a loss for words when you compliment a Chinese host on a wonderful meal, and you get a response, “No, no, the food was really horrible.” A lit- tle less boasting and fewer self-congratula- tory remarks go a long way towards scoring cultural sensitivity points with the Chinese. Never get angry in public Public displays of anger are frowned upon by the Chinese and are most uncomfort- able for them to deal with — especially if the people getting angry are foreign tour- ists, for example. This goes right along with making someone (usually the Chinese host) lose face, which you should avoid at all costs. Never address people by their first names first Chinese people have first and last names like everyone else. However, in China, the last name always comes first. The family (and the collective in general) always takes precedence over the individual. Joe Smith in Minnesota is known as Smith Joe (or the equivalent) in Shanghai. If a man is intro- duced to you as Lî Míng, you can safely refer to him as Mr. Lî (not Mr. Míng). Unlike people in the West, the Chinese don’t feel very comfortable calling each other by their first names. Only family members and a few close friends ever refer to the man above, for example, as simply “Míng.” Never take food with the wrong end of your chopsticks The next time you gather around a dinner table with a Chinese host, you may discover that serving spoons for the many commu- nal dishes are non-existent. This is because everyone serves themselves (or others) by turning their chopsticks upside down to take food from the main dishes before put- ting the food on the individual plates. Never drink alcohol without first offering a toast Chinese banquets include eight to ten Never make someone lose face The worst thing you can possi- bly do to Chinese acquaintances is publicly humiliate or other- wise embarrass them. Doing so makes them lose face. Don’t point out a mistake in front of others or yell at someone. The good news is that you can actually help someone gain face by complimenting them and giving credit where credit is due. Do this whenever the opportu- nity arises. Your graciousness is much appreciated. 18 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  19. 19. 19 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com DON’TS courses of food and plenty of alcohol. One way to slow down the drinking is to observe Chinese etiquette by always offering a toast to the host or someone else at the table be- fore taking a sip yourself. This not only prevents you from drinking too much too quickly, but also shows your gratitude toward the host and your regard for the other guests. Never let someone else pay the bill without fighting for it Most Westerners are stunned the first time they witness the many fairly chaotic, noisy scenes at the end of a Chinese restaurant meal. The time to pay the bill has come and everyone is simply doing what they’re expected to do — fight to be the one to pay it. The Chinese consider it good manners to vociferously and strenuously attempt to wrest the bill out of the very hands of whoever happens to have it. This may go on, back and forth, for a good few minutes, until someone “wins” and pays the bill. The gesture of being ea- ger and willing to pay is always appreciated. Never accept food, drinks, or gifts without first refusing a few times No self-respecting guests immediately accept whatever may be offered to them in some- one’s home. No matter how eager they may be to accept the food, drink, or gift, proper Chinese etiquette prevents them from doing anything that makes them appear greedy or eager to receive it, so be sure to politely refuse a couple of times. Never show up empty handed Gifts are exchanged frequently between the Chinese, and not just on special occasions. If you have dinner in someone’s house to meet a prospective business partner or for any other pre-arranged meeting, both parties commonly exchange gifts as small tokens of friendship and good will. Westerners are often surprised at the number of gifts the Chinese hosts give. The gen- eral rule of thumb is to bring many little (gender non-specific) gifts when you travel to China. You never know when you’ll meet someone who wants to present you with a special memento, so you should arrive with your own as well. Never take the first “No, thank you” literally Chinese people automatically refuse food or drinks several times — even if they really feel hungry or thirsty. Never take the first “No, thank you” liter- ally. Even if they say it once or twice, offer it again. A good guest is supposed to refuse at least once, but a good host is also supposed to make the of- fer at least twice. Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  20. 20. 20 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com CORPORATE CULTURE It is very difficult to break through the “them vs. us” philosophy (foreign partner vs. Chi- nese). In personal relationships, the Chinese will offer friendship and warm hospitality without conflict, but in business they are astute negotiators. Dress Conservative, simple, unpretentious, modest clothing should be worn – nothing flashy or overly fashionable. Women should avoid bare backs, shorts, low-cut tops and excessive jewellery. For business, men should wear sport coats and ties. Slacks and open-necked shirts are generally suitable in the summer for busi- ness meetings; jackets and ties are not nec- essary. Women should wear dresses or pantsuits for business and should avoid heavy make-up and dangling, gaudy jewelry. Good to know Punctuality is important for foreign business people. Being late is rude. Meetings always begin on time. English is not spoken in business meetings, although some Chinese may understand En- glish without making it known. Hire an inter- preter or ask for one to be provided. Be prepared for long meetings and lengthy negotiations (often ten days straight) with many delays. The Chinese will enter a meeting with the highest-ranking person entering first. They will assume the first member of your group to enter the room is the leader of your The Chinese are practical in business and realize they need Western investment, but dislike dependency on foreigners. They are suspi- cious and fearful of being cheated or pushed around by foreigners, who are per- ceived as culturally and eco- nomically corrupt.
  21. 21. 21 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com CORPORATE CULTURE delegation. The senior Chinese person welcomes everyone. The foreign leader introduces his/her team, and each member distributes his/her card. The leader invites the Chinese to do the same. Seating is very important at a meeting. The host sits to the left of the most important guest. There may be periods of silence at a busi- ness meeting; do not interrupt these. A contract is considered a draft subject to change. Chinese may agree on a deal and then change their minds. A signed contract is not binding and does not mean negotia- tions will end. Observing seniority and rank is extremely important in business. The status of the people who make the initial contact with the Chinese is very im- portant. Don’t insult the Chinese by sending someone with a low rank. Chinese negotiators may try to make foreign negotiators feel guilty about setbacks; they may then manipulate this sense of guilt to achieve certain concessions. Two Chinese negotiating tricks designed to make you agree to concessions are staged temper tantrums and a feigned sense of urgency. If the Chinese side no longer wishes to pur- sue the deal, they may not tell you. To save their own face, they may become increas- ingly inflexible and hard-nosed, forcing you to break off negotiations. In this way, they may avoid blame for the failure.
  22. 22. 22 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com Relationships & Communication The Chinese don’t like doing business with companies they don’t know, so working through an intermediary is crucial. This could be an individual or an organization who can make a formal introduction and vouch for the reliability of your company. Before arriving in China, send materials (in Chinese) that describe your company, its history, and literature about your products and services. The Chinese often use inter- mediaries to ask questions that they would prefer not to make directly. Be very patient. It takes a considerable amount of time and is bound up with enor- mous bureaucracy. The Chinese see foreigners as represen- tatives of their company rather than as individuals. Rank is extremely important in business re- lationships and you must keep rank differ- ences in mind when communicating. Gender bias is non-existent in business. Never lose sight of the fact that communi- cation is official, especially in dealing with someone of higher rank. Treating them too informally, especially in front of their peers, may well ruin a potential deal. The Chinese prefer face-to-face meetings rather than written or telephone commu- nication. Meals and social events are not the place for business discussions. There is a demar- cation between business and socializing in China, so try to be careful not to intertwine the two. Business Meeting Etiquette Appointments are necessary and, if possi- ble, should be made between one-to-two months in advance, preferably in writing. If you do not have a contact within the company, use an intermediary to arrange a formal introduction. Once the introduc- tion has been made, you should provide the company with information about your company and what you want to accom- plish at the meeting. You should arrive at meetings on time or slightly early. The Chinese view punctuali- ty as a virtue. Arriving late is an insult and could affect your relationship negatively. Pay great attention to the agenda as each Chinese participant has his or her own agenda that they will attempt to introduce. Send an agenda before the meeting so your Chinese colleagues have the chance to meet with any technical experts prior to the meeting. Discuss the agenda with your translator/intermediary prior to submis- sion. Each participant will take an opportunity to dominate the floor for lengthy periods without appearing to say very much of anything that actually contributes to the meeting. Be patient and listen. There could be subtle messages being transmitted that would assist you in allaying fears of on-go- ing association. BUSINESS ETIQUETTE 22 Country profile CHINALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  23. 23. Veronica Gelfgren Yulia Bazyukina Marja-Liisa Helenius Research Research, layout Proofreading www.thelanguagemenu.com Learnmera Oy

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