C3’s director Annette Dahl was, in connection with the Chinese president Hu Jintao’s visit to Denmark 14-16 June, guest specialist on both TV2 News and Radio 24syvs program with a global perspective GLOBUS.
You have to read the government’s 5-year plan
On the second day of the Chinese president Hu Jintao’s visit to Denmark – Friday 15 June 2012 – managing director of C3 Consulting Annette Dahl was a guest at MorgenLive on TV2 News, where she provided advice on how a Danish company could successfully do business in China.
One of Annette Dahl’s advices was to properly do your homework – e.g. by reading the Chinese five-year plan. In China, politics and business are far more intertwined than we are used to in Denmark, and the political priorities in the five-year plan are important indicators for both local businesses and government officials.
At the same time, the Chinese of today have an immense amount of confidence and the need for foreign investments is decreasing – therefore in order to become an interesting business partner you, as a Danish company, have to be able to explain how your investments will benefit and develop the Chinese society as well.
Furthermore, Annette Dahl emphasized that good personal relations are one of the keys to success in a Chinese context. First of all, you have to identify who are important to your network – e.g. who is the local party secretary, and which local government officials should you know? And then you should allow time for building relations. Have dinner together, sing karaoke, show an interest. It is not a waste of time. Quite the contrary. While building relations you establish the trust, which in China is crucial to whom you prefer to do business with. The time you spent on building relations is a safe investment.
Harmony, face and hierarchy
Later the same day Annette Dahl was interviewed for a theme edition of Radio 24syvs program with a global perspective GLOBUS, focusing on the potential of the relations between Denmark and China.
During the program Annette Dahl contributed among others with the following advice on how to do business in China:
- Leave the typically very direct Danish way of communicating at home, when you do business in China – especially in regards to criticism. It is important to maintain a harmonious relation to your clients, suppliers and business partners. If you have criticism, choose the proper context in which to provide it, preferably an offline, informal context in which few people are present.
- Avoid making your Chinese business partner lose face. Instead try to ‘give face’, e.g. by showing your respect to the business partner’s position and emphasizing, how important a role he has in correlation with your business in China. To give face is part of establishing your relation – ‘guanxi’ in Chinese – and developing a foundation for the future collaboration.
- Be aware, that the traditional Chinese company culture is highly hierarchical and that the personal relations between managers and employees are important. If you have a Chinese manager, you need to identify your own and his position – and respect it, in order for the manager not to feel that you are threatening his position.
Listen to GLOBUS’s entire theme edition on the potential of the relations between Denmark and China here (in Danish).