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Economics and Global Business Applications Essay

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Updated: Nov 24th, 2018

Introduction

There is no doubt that communication is an integral marketing strategy that a firm must master in order to compete effectively in foreign markets. According to Tian and Borges (2011), a company must adopt sound marketing communication strategies in order to engage in international business successfully (p. 110). Nonetheless, some senior executives fail to realize that cultural difference may enhance or impede a company’s marketing approach in a foreign market.

As the world becomes globalised, many countries have progressively staked a claim to “a right to culture” in global business (Tian & Borges, 2011, p. 110). Some experts have even predicted that national culture will play an important role in determining not only economic growth but also the overall global business strategies. Consequently, this paper will explore the major cultural issues that impact a firm’s marketing approach in China.

Major Cross-cultural Issues Affecting a Firm’s Marketing Approach

It is important to mention that cross-culturalization is an unavoidable process since the world is rapidly becoming a global village. On the one hand, as the world becomes more globalised, the disparities between national markets are weakening. On the other hand, the cultural disparities between ethnic groups, regions and countries are (nonetheless) growing stronger.

Accordingly, since global marketing communication is a cross-cultural process, senior executives must strive to understand cultural diversity across ethnic groups and countries in order to successfully launch their business operations in international markets (Pitta, Fung & Isberg, 1999, p. 240).

As noted earlier, global marketing communication entails communication that transcends national frontiers. Accordingly, cross-cultural communication (from the viewpoint of consumers, values and language) is a complicated undertaking since a certain level of miscommunication is bound to happen.

For example, cross-cultural communication problems may surface when a particular group from one culture fail to grasp culturally established disparities with respect to communication traditions and practises that are presented in another cultural perspective. In addition, the manner in which a firm entrenches the norms and values in its advertising messages may positively or negatively impact its business operations in the global market.

In other words, a firm must grasp the role of cultural values in advertisements in order to enhance its cross-cultural marketing communication. Thus, a firm’s global marketing strategy should be guided by the cultural values present in the targeted market to avoid misinterpretation of the intended message and consequently result in poor performance in the global markets (Pitta, Fung & Isberg, 1999, p. 240).

The China market provides a good example for exploring the relevance of cross-cultural communication given the prevalence of numerous variable that determine the manner in which the Chinese businessmen interact with their non-Chinese counterparts.

For example, Tian and Borges (2011) point out several factors that new market entrants must consider inculcate in order to market and sell their products successfully in China market. These factors include strong negotiation skills, agility and patience (p. 111). In addition, new market entrants must learn how to adapt to the local market environment in order to compete effectively in the China market (Pitta, Fung & Isberg, 1999, p. 240).

Cross-cultural Communication and Marketing Strategies In Chinese Market

As noted in the previous section, the rapid globalization of world markets has compelled marketing executives to learn how to carry out business operations among diverse cultures. It is worth mentioning that the cross-cultural communication between consumers and marketers is an important factor that determines business success in the China market.

Thus, it is important for a firm to collect market data, interpret and use it effectively to ensure business success in the China market. This argument can be supported by one classic example regarding efforts by the Japanese firms to introduce coloured televisions in the China market (Tian & Borges, 2011, p. 112).

In the late 1990s, the China market was dominated by coloured television sets imported from Japan. Previously, the European and the Japanese television set producers carried out studies to explore the viability of their operations in the China market. The European producers (based on their findings) opted not to venture into the China market.

Their studies revealed that the Chinese consumers could not afford coloured television sets because the country’s (China) GDP per capita was lower. Nonetheless, the Japanese television set producers opted to market their products in the China market because the findings of their studies revealed that most Chinese shoppers had a culture of saving. Their findings also revealed that this tradition has been practised by successive generations in China for many years (Tian & Borges, 2011, p. 113).

In addition, the majority of consumers in the Western nations have poor saving habits compared to their Chinese counterparts. For example, the research by the Japanese marketers found that a majority of households in China had saved their earnings for close to three years in order to purchase a television set. The Japanese manufacturers also found that majority of the Chinese households purchased Japanese television sets more than those produced by the local Chinese companies.

Based on their findings, the Japanese manufacturers were convinced that the Chinese households would purchase coloured television sets imported from Japan. It is against this backdrop that the Japanese coloured television manufacturers reaped enormous profits in the China market because they were able to grasp the distinctive aspect of the Chinese culture (Tian & Borges, 2011, p. 113; Pitta, Fung & Isberg, 1999, p. 240).

Cross-cultural Ethical Differences In Marketing Strategies Between US and China

The Chinese culture perceives change as disturbing especially if it is extensive and happens abruptly. This viewpoint is grounded on the principles of Taoism and Confucius which are held in high esteem by the Chinese. It is worth mentioning that Taoism and Confucius tenets have strong influence on the manner in which the Chinese people think and act since they emphasize peace and harmony.

However, the Americans hold efficiency in high esteem in all their marketing strategies. In other words, any marketing strategy that will bring about the desired outcomes is considered as essential. In addition, American marketers lend credence to a rational way of thinking that is anchored in facts. Furthermore, Americans hold in high esteem the desired outcomes which may be troublesome to the existing relations .

What is more, Chinese marketers value human relationships and abhor the spirit of individualism in their marketing strategies. On the contrary, human relationships play a limited role among American executives. Furthermore, the spirit of individualism is highly prevalent among Americans because it enables them to acquire their uniqueness via their individual actions and accomplishments (Pitta, Fung & Isberg, 1999, p. 247).

References

Pitta, D., Fung, H., & Isberg, S. (1999). Ethical issues across cultures: managing the differing perspectives of China and the USA. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 16 (3), 240-256.

Tian, K., & Borges, L. (2011). Cross-cultural Issues in Marketing Communications: An Anthropological Perspective of International Business. International Journal of China Marketing, 2 (1), 110-126.

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