Conducting negotiations in China is more an art than a science. The art of war teaches Chinese their way of negotiations. Here are 7 tips for before, during and after negotiations with Chinese suppliers.

The art of war by Sun-Tzu

Before negotiation

Before you arrange a negotiation with your Chinese supplier, you need to study their background. The art of war says: if you know you and your enemy, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles.

  1. Act like a big boss
    Most of Chinese suppliers will think whether you are big boss or not before they negotiate with you. They will see clues from what you wear, and do you have assistants hanging bags for you. For example, you can invite your Chinese supplier to a splendid restaurant to show that you are really powerful.
  2. Friendship first, business second
    Friendship

    In China, people like to first be friend. All of the businesses can only be achieved within friendship. When you visit Chinese suppliers, ask the local customs to show respect and show your willing to be friends with them.

  3. Ask where is the boss from
    As Chinese bosses are from different area of China, it is better you understand the culture differences in these areas. For example, bosses from Guangdong, and from Shanghai will be totally different. Consult your local Chinese people ask what means if the boss is a Guangdong boss.

    During negotiation

  4. Spot the leader
    In Chinese culture the leader will have more power than in the western culture. You need to spot the leader if you are talking with a team of negotiators. And watch what is his (or her) feedbacks. If you focus on some manager and invite the manager for dinner, not the leader, then you will waste your money and time.
  5. Face (Mian Zi)
    Chinese mask

    Chinese treat their faces much more important than money. Face is generally their reputation and feelings of prestige. Don’t let your Chinese supplier lose face in negotiation or in public, especially the leader. It your opponent loses face; this relationship will be very difficult to repair.

  6. Yes means No
    Chinese don’t like to say no or refuse you. Their leader will feel bad if he or she refuses you. Because Chinese treat you as guest from far away, they cannot let guest down. So if they say yes, please do confirm with them especially for some important issues.

    After The Negotiation

  7. The gift
    Vodka

    Something from your home country can be a good choice. For example, if you are from Russia, bring a special Vodka with a special printing. It means you choose it very seriously. Your Chinese supplier will feel they have face before their colleagues and friends. But some gift could mean unluck in China. Consult your local Chinese poeple before you arrange the gift.

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