Negotiating In China: 10 Rules for Success
Image by AFP/Getty Images via @daylifeContributor: Jack Perkowski
your own and your boss’s expectations.
Maintaining balance and harmony is an important aspect of Chinese thought. Chinese do not
want to “lose face,” and they also do not want to cause you to “lose face.” Therefore, they will
rarely disagree with you in public, and will instead emphasize friendly relations andcooperation.When your boss comes to town and is treated with a great deal of respect and lavished withcompliments, he or she will assume that your job negotiating a deal will be easy given such acooperative and friendly atmosphere. Likewise, you will be favorably impressed by thecomments and compliments of your Chinese counterparts, and may come to believe that there
is agreement where there isn’t.
In China, it’s important not to be lulled into a f
alse sense of complacency by this aspect of Chinese culture, and you should keep in perspective the compliments paid by your Chinesecounterparts. Great effort must be made to understand the meanings behind the words.
2. Have a negotiating strategy
your counterpart certainly will.
China is a marathon, not a sprint, and your negotiations are likely to take place over a longer period of time than in the West. Many negotiations may be carried out over the telephone in places like the United States, but this is virtually unheard of in China. The requirement for face to face meetings alone extends the time for negotiations, the need for translation, as wellas the time necessary to get to know your potential partner are other factors that make themlonger. Have a clear idea of where you want to end up, and how you plan to get there.
Because memories tend to change over time, it’s important to keep accurate records of theresults of each round of negotiations. It’s also a good idea for both sides to sign off on
3. Understand that negotiating in China is a team sport.
When negotiating in China, you will likely face a team of negotiators across the table. A keychallenge will be to identify the real decision maker in the group
there is usually only one
and the individual or individuals who can influence the decision maker.