One word for one world
One word for one world

Doing business in China

The Chinese economy is increasingly opening its doors to foreign business. The country with the greatest number of inhabitants in the world offers a wealth of business opportunities. A major export area, China offers the possibility of setting up production facilities cheaply, and accessing a huge workforce and a new sales market. As a consequence, the appeal of doing business in China is ever-increasing.

Chinese business people are also entrepreneurs themselves, as well as being international investors who regularly seek local export or business partners. Whether you are planning on doing business in China now, or a Chinese business has shown an interest in your company as a local representative in the UK, a professional translation agency with vast knowledge of the Chinese language and business culture will be an invaluable asset in your negotiations. Our translation agency works only with professional translators who speak the target language as their mother tongue. Above all, we have access to a wide variety of specialisms; whether you need technical, legal, medical, or marketing texts translated, we will find you the right match. Our experts translate Chinese documents, terms and conditions, and contracts into, for example, Dutch, English, German, or French. If you are still at the research stage, you can already gather together some information from our tips below:

Tip 1: Shaking hands

The traditional British way of greeting each other with a handshake is not the norm in Chinese business culture. Contrary to the firm handshake that we are used to in the UK, handshakes are very gentle in China. In addition to a simple light touch of each other’s hands, it is customary to move your head a little when greeting. Apart from shaking hands, it is not appropriate to make physical contact with your Chinese business partner.

Chinese flag

A business card translated into Chinese will give you a head start in your negotiations.

Tip 2: Business cards in Chinese

Giving out business cards during meetings is common practice and is part of introducing yourself to the new people you meet. It is best to have your business cards printed in Chinese on one side. Do not forget to state your company name, role, and your qualifications on your business card. You will also receive a business card from your business partners, which you should take with two hands. Read the business card and try to come up with a compliment about an aspect of education, promotion, or the design of the business card. During the meeting or presentation, you should place the business card on the table in front of you.

Tip 3: Understanding verbal and non-verbal communication

The Chinese will often avoid eye contact when they speak to people they don’t know or who are of the opposite sex. Traditionally it was seen as impolite and aggressive to look someone directly in the eye while talking to them. As a mark of respect, some Chinese people will slightly close their eyes when they talk to you. Chinese people often have a neutral and slightly downbeat facial expression. This has nothing to do with their mood but comes from the belief that showing emotion does not get business relations off to a good start. Interpreting communication with the Chinese is not easy, as it is indirect and sometimes ambiguous. If the answer to something is ‘no’, your Chinese business partner will do everything to avoid using negative words. He or she remains friendly. You will notice that your business partner is not in agreement or not willing to cooperate indirectly through non-verbal communication.

Hand signing a paper

Successfully doing business in China with professionally translated documents.

Tip 4: Learn the culture

A business trip to China offers a wealth of possibilities for you to get to know the culture. Learn a couple of Chinese words to break the ice at the first meeting. Do not start talking about business straight away but get to know the new people you are talking to on a personal level first. Your interest will certainly be valued.

If you do business with Chinese people in China or in Europe, it is advisable to get a brochure, an introductory letter, or a letter of intent, and of course your business card, translated into Chinese. We will be happy to help you further with the many variants of the Chinese language for a professional translation of your documents, brochures, presentations, and business cards.

Our experience in China

Contrary to conventional translation agencies, we work with people all over the world for whom the local language and culture is their own. As a result, we can also offer translations from Chinese dialects. You can ask for our help with professional translations of delivery terms and conditions, export papers, and any other documents you receive from your Chinese business partners.

Nicolette van Neer
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