How to build a long-lasting partnership in China

Having the right partner is essential in ensuring sustained business success in China. What do you need to know and do in order to achieve that? Ting Zhang, our Founder & CEO, summarises some key points from her speech at a recent China business webinar organised by Santander Bank, UK.

1)     China is a hierarchical society from the Confucius influence, and this is still the case with businesses, no matter how big or small, stated or privately owned.

2)     “Guanxi” – due to the legacy of a centralised economy, political connections and civil links continue to be very useful for a company wishing to be successful in China. I used the example of Tesla cars to illustrate my point.

3)     Lots of toasts over business dinners are part of building trust, essential for long term partnership in China

4)     Flexible mindset and approaches will go a long way, whether re-negotiating your contract or scheduling meetings

5)     Be aware of different attitudes towards work / life balance and ways to do business among different generations, eg “Lie Flat” phenomenon

6)     Depending on your purpose of doing business in China – exporting, sourcing, R&D, or fundraising, you will need different partners but keep an open mind about the role a partner can play to your business

7)     if you are SME, then try to avoid big Chinese corporates if you can, go for smaller companies – entrepreneurs that are keen to work with you, take it seriously, and value your partnership.

8)     You may find more suitable partners when you widen your search beyond your own contacts. But always carry out independent due diligence, especially on intellectual property track record.

9)     Spend more time on topics not on the agenda to keep the personal relationship warm if not visiting China (yet).

10)  Finally, act swiftly to leads, and match the “China Speed”.