Let’s face it; today we live in an ever-shrinking world, one where international business is commonly practice by many different companies. From small firms exporting good across the globe to those opening offices in major cities in countries like China, understanding the rules, laws, and customs of a country is imperative for those who hope to be successful. Opening a business in China is slightly trickier than some other popular Asian countries, but for those willing to put in the time necessary to conform to the rules and regulations, China can be an excellent business base.
China has a culture that is entirely different from the western world. From digging up dragon bones to presenting gifts, the customs and practices in China are unfamiliar to most in the United States. Prior to opening an international business in China, it’s important to spend some time in the country, preferably with an informed guide, to begin to learn the customs. Failing to do so could lead to unintentional gaffes and insults that could quickly kill your new business venture in this exciting country.
Partners and Locations Count
Who and where you do business matters in China. In China, businessmen adhere to the cultural norm of driving expensive cars, wearing expensive clothing, and owning an expensive factory. Sadly, in some cases, this is little more than show. Be sure to perform credit checks and due diligence on any potential business partners to avoid finding out that what appears to be a competent and wealthy partner is instead a risky business choice at best.
Equally important is finding the best location for your new business in China. Some local government offices do offer preferential treatment to international business owners that can be significant. Be sure to check out the potential incentives and tax benefits of each area before deciding where to build your office or factory.
Paperwork, Paperwork, and More Paperwork
There are more rules and regulations in China than there are grains of sand in an hour glass, and it is your responsibility to follow each of them to the letter. Understanding how something as small as the language contained within your scope and business categorization can impact your ability to operate effectively in the country is critical. Tap into resources available at the United States Embassy, as well as business contacts within China, to make you are taking care of business the way you should be.
Opening a business in China can be lucrative, but this is not a journey to rush into. Make sure you fully understand all aspects of opening a business in China before spending any money. When you can answer the questions, “What is the cultural significance of a dragon bone?” and “What are your responsibilities in China as an employer?” you might just be ready.