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Organize a business trip in China

A trip to China to win contracts, meet potential distributors and manufacturers, has to be prepared in advance. When a contractor wants to do business in China, no room should be left to improvise. Here are some tips to help you put the odds in your favor in order to maximize the efficiency of your business trip in China.

1. Solve the paperwork before
Administrative procedures for a trip to China concern mainly the visa and insurance. Learn before about the type of visa you need and apply for it in advance. Many documents are required. Depending on the duration and frequency of your business travel, you may need a business visa or a working visa. Also be sure to have a good insurance, you will not be taking care of otherwise.

2. Be accompanied
If you want to maximize the effectiveness of your trip to China, be supported by an agency that can provide good information about business in China and who will facilitate the administrative procedures. It will also provide you with an office in a coworking space for the duration of your stay so that you can accommodate potential customers or meet other entrepreneurs. This will allow you to share tips and advices and also to obtain information more easily, since you will have contact with people who can answer your questions.

You will probably need to bring an interpreter. Although more and more Chinese speak English, however the decision makers are part of the generation that has not learned English. Many misunderstandings are possible, so in order not to have any misunderstanding, bring along an interpreter who will accompany you to your appointments. This does not mean that there should not be any exchange in English or in Chinese to lighten the mood, but when it comes to talk business, it is essential to have a translator.

3. Adapting to Chinese customs
During your trip, you will get used to Chinese life and customs. Learn a few words of Mandarin to get by in every day’s life but also to show your audience that you really are interested in China.

Be sure to ask about the customs and rules to follow during a meal or when doing business with Chinese businessmen. For example, the business card is stretched with both hands. The Chinese will often invite you to the restaurant and will offer to drink “Baijiu”: Chinese rice alcohol. It is often during these meals that they decide whether or not they want to do business with you. Be prepare also for culinary discoveries, Chinese food is sometimes surprising.

Finally, a Chinese businessman will never tell you no, even if he is not interested in your product. Learn to judge with other signs to see if they wish to do business with you and never take a “yes” as a final answer.

4. The art of negotiation
Negotiation is an integral part of Chinese life. The first prize that will give you a producer will never be the final price, so do not hesitate to negotiate. Chinese negotiations take time, you will have to be patient and spend time in the restaurant or KTV with your trading partners.

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DATE November 13, 2014
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