Business in China is evolving at an incredible pace. The hardware industry is learning that, in China, it IS possible to improve the price of products without giving up the desired quality. This “discovery” puts us in a very advantageous spot in the market. After 23 years in this nation, IBMH understands negotiations and the internal workings of Chinese furniture hardware manufacturers and companies.
Without a doubt, this Asian giant is opening up to the world. Its companies are adopting recruiting strategies and starting to do business in the Western style. However, the cultural traditions rooted in Confucianism are still very relevant.
In fact, if you are a Westerner, no matter how much you have traveled to this continent, the cultures are so different from each other that it’s quite easy to make a mistake in protocols or simply not understand certain attitudes.
Chinese furniture hardware manufacturers and companies: boss-employee relationships
- • Guanxi, that is, the social fabric woven in the company environment. It is actually strengthened in more diverse settings, such as business meals, trips or nights out.
- • And Mianzi, a person’s reputation or prestige.
Importance of hierarchy:
- • Meticulous respect for upper management is the general norm.
- • Contradicting your superior could be taken as a serious sign of disrespect.
- • Business owners and employees in China adopt unwritten rules.
- • Opacity reigns in the internal communication of companies.
- • In front of a superior, employees are very servile and constantly make gestures of courtesy or deference.
- • If an employee of inferior rank is able to get close to their superior through some professional contact, this is demonstrated in peculiar privileges. For example, being able to sit in the front passenger’s seat of the boss’ car.
Chinese furniture hardware manufacturers and companies: corporate customs
- • Hiring based on Guanxi (contact network) comes before promotion based on merit.
- • Disciplinary regulations: In Chinese companies, it is common for conduct to be penalized through economic sanctions (being late more than three times in one month). But also, be rewarded through incentives (arriving on-time all month).
- • Few days off: The Chinese have some 11 national holidays, and their vacations range from 5 to 15 days per year.
- • Lack of internal communication: This is part of a culture that is deeply rooted in the social fabric between employees—Guanxi and its scarce verbalization. In general, they receive little or no information about tasks.
- • Gender equality: In China, equality in upper management positions is the order of the day.
- • Signs of courtesy: These are the same for men as they are for women. The deference that a Westerner will often have when interacting with a woman, or giving her a kiss on the cheek as a greeting, are not considered appropriate. They have their own rules.
So, local customs, so ingrained in Chinese socioeconomic culture, are an inseparable part of the internal workings of companies. Understanding them is essential for the success of your negotiation. Besides, it shows interest, proactivity and good will to your local partners. IBMH has worked in China for years, and we have this huge advantage. No doubt, we have the real ability to be your strategic sourcing office. Want to know what we can do for you to improve the results of your hardware business?