Guanxi for the Busy American: What You Dont Know About Chinese Business Customs Can Really Hurt You


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To understand signage, menus and other items displaying Chinese characters, download Pleco , a Chinese-English dictionary with an integrated document reader. Simply snap a photo of the writing you wish to understand and it will translate the phrase for you. And to correspond with your Chinese business associates, use WeChat , a popular Chinese social media app that also has message translation. Because counterfeit money is a concern in China, ask for small bills when exchanging money and use only ATMs at trusted financial institutions.

We always recommend using a virtual private network VPN on business trips but even more so in China. Not only can the secure internet connection help maintain cybersecurity, but you also will be able to access sites that the Chinese government restricts its citizens from using, such as Twitter, Dropbox, Gmail and Facebook. According to CountryReports , security personnel may place your activities under surveillance.

Hotel rooms, meeting rooms, offices, cars, taxis, telephones and internet use including WeChat may be monitored onsite or remotely without your knowledge or consent. And just as you do on the airplane or when back in the office, be mindful of your activities and act under the assumption that someone is looking over your shoulder while working on your device. You need to have a blend of perks and policies that appeal to all three demographics — millennials, Gen Xers and baby boomers.

Millennials, defined by the Pew Research Center as those born between and , are an independent, adaptable, adventurous bunch. Because many of them have a strong desire to see the world, this generation is eager to travel for work and now are the most frequent business travelers. Booking technology that can keep up with them and make their travel coordination a seamless process. More specifically, they want to be able to make bookings, check itineraries, receive travel updates and arrange for ground transportation via a few swipes on their smartphone.

One app that will make all the above-mentioned tasks a breeze? Travelers will love this innovative booking tool for two main reasons and travel managers for even more. First, booking a full trip can be done super-fast. Because Neo reduces the number of actions travelers have to take and screens they have to navigate, it can build a complete trip itinerary — including air, hotel and ground options — in literally seconds.

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Shaped by this phenomenon, Gen Xers are independent, resourceful and self-sufficient and dislike micromanagement. They crave fun in the workplace. Work-life balance. Do you offer paid time off after a long trip or the ability to work from home the day before or after? How about business class seats on a long-haul flight? Do they have access to airport lounges?

What other ways can your program counterbalance the friction of business travel? And if they still need convincing, email them this report on the hidden expenses of a cost-focused travel program.

Born between and , members of this larger generation had to fight to rise in the ranks when they first entered the workforce. As a result, they are extremely hardworking, are comfortable with long workweeks and define themselves by their professional achievements. They believe in a hierarchal structure and rankism and may have difficulty adapting to modern workplace flexibility trends.

Although slower to adopt new technology, boomers greatly value it to stay connected while on the road. If your company does not cover the cost of Wi-Fi for the entire duration of a business trip, from airport to hotel and in-between, look at your budget to see how you can make magic happen. Also, review other ways you can make business trips more productive.

Perhaps you might decide that paying for TSA Precheck and Global Entry is worth it so travelers are not wasting time in long airport security lines. What is the outlook for air travel in ? According to our newly released Global Business Travel Forecast, demand is rapidly expanding on a global level.


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Yet, while fares are expected to rise in every region, overcapacity on some routes, aggressive expansion by low-cost carriers and historically low oil prices should keep price increases in check. Although only modest fare increases are expected, airlines will continue to drive revenues through the expanded use of ancillary fees.

Other air trends for that were revealed in this American Express Global Business Travel report include the increased use of unbundled fares by mainline carriers to better compete with low-cost airlines and the broader adoption of premium economy seating as a means of bridging the widening gap between economy and business class products. The report also identifies key metrics for your air program, best practices to employ for your air policy as well as air trends we predict for each region.

Understanding China

To read more, download the full report by filling out the form below. Business travelers Now for the real VIP — the travelers who make the business go round. Looking for ways to save?

Important Elements of Chinese Culture —“Guanxi” and “Renqing”

Leverage our longtime supplier relationships for steeper discounts. Still, there are a few safety precautions travelers can follow when using such services. Targeting TMs Airbnb also is working to make it easier for travel managers TM , rolling out a dashboard that allows them to schedule reservations, pay invoices and reimburse employees for their stays. Security check Haines also cautions TMs about the security of Airbnb rentals. Chinese fashion leans on the conservative side. Dining etiquette A typical ingredient in the art of Chinese negotiations is the formal banquet dinner.

Online safety We always recommend using a virtual private network VPN on business trips but even more so in China. What they want from a travel program Booking technology that can keep up with them and make their travel coordination a seamless process. How you can deliver One app that will make all the above-mentioned tasks a breeze? What they want from a travel program Work-life balance. Will guanxi help westerners in China? Possibly -- but it is certain that mishandling guanxi and relationships will hurt your chances. Learning to manage relationships in China is vital to success.

Written for the Western negotiator who needs to transact and execute. Available on Kindle, iBook and all major e-formats. Chinese negotiators dont like doing business with someone that they dont feel they know. Relationships play a much larger role in Chinese business than in the West. Be careful.


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Its important to be able to buiild relationships, but you shouldnt be throwing your business plan in the trash because you know a guy who knows a guy. Still, the art of guanxi requires that you extricate yourself without insulting him or looking like you dont value his network. Guanxi A network of counter-balancing relationships and social business connections.

Successful transactions lead to cordial relationships. Chinese dont.

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For the Chinese side, relationship-building is integral to the business. Relationships lead to transactions. Is guanxi different from a network of relationships elsewhere in the world? To you, maybe not. To your Chinese counter-part, YES. You may want to dispense with guanxi, but your counterparty probably doesnt.


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In Shanghai and Shenzhen, guanxi may play a relatively small role in your negotiation. In Beijing and most of China, you would be wise to budget time and resources for relationship building. Think of it an investment. They dont have to like you, but they do have to know you -- and trust you on some level.

Relationship-building is the time to find out about plans, goals, risk tolerance, and business philosophy. How do they define a partner? I have never had any stomach problems in China. I felt tottally safe drinking juice and milk when I was in China. I mainly drank trusted brands both local brands and foreign ones.

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Huiyuan mentioned in this article is a brand name of juice in China, and as for milk several trusted brands such as Yili, Bright, etc are pretty good too. Obviously Coke wants to tap into the market of 1. Doubtful that it will be seen on store shelves in the US.

Guanxi for the Busy American: What You Dont Know About Chinese Business Customs Can Really Hurt You Guanxi for the Busy American: What You Dont Know About Chinese Business Customs Can Really Hurt You
Guanxi for the Busy American: What You Dont Know About Chinese Business Customs Can Really Hurt You Guanxi for the Busy American: What You Dont Know About Chinese Business Customs Can Really Hurt You
Guanxi for the Busy American: What You Dont Know About Chinese Business Customs Can Really Hurt You Guanxi for the Busy American: What You Dont Know About Chinese Business Customs Can Really Hurt You
Guanxi for the Busy American: What You Dont Know About Chinese Business Customs Can Really Hurt You Guanxi for the Busy American: What You Dont Know About Chinese Business Customs Can Really Hurt You
Guanxi for the Busy American: What You Dont Know About Chinese Business Customs Can Really Hurt You Guanxi for the Busy American: What You Dont Know About Chinese Business Customs Can Really Hurt You
Guanxi for the Busy American: What You Dont Know About Chinese Business Customs Can Really Hurt You Guanxi for the Busy American: What You Dont Know About Chinese Business Customs Can Really Hurt You
Guanxi for the Busy American: What You Dont Know About Chinese Business Customs Can Really Hurt You Guanxi for the Busy American: What You Dont Know About Chinese Business Customs Can Really Hurt You
Guanxi for the Busy American: What You Dont Know About Chinese Business Customs Can Really Hurt You Guanxi for the Busy American: What You Dont Know About Chinese Business Customs Can Really Hurt You
Guanxi for the Busy American: What You Dont Know About Chinese Business Customs Can Really Hurt You

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