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Globalisation has enabled companies to operate in countries different from their county of incorporation. Borderless information technologies have also enabled business transactions among companies in different countries. The business interactions among different countries have exposed managers to different cultures, which affect their marketing decisions(Ilan 2). This paper analyzes how Chinese culture affects foreign businesses venturing in China.
China has a high context cultural system, this is a culture where in-group communication is through few chosen words that make sense to members of the group.
An outsider listening to such talks cannot grasp what is said easily. The culture does not change fast and have an accepted common background that explains issues. Few words are spoken and deeper meaning is given by common cultural belief. China has high value of its tradition and undergoes minimal change. Humour in an in-group does not translate well to somebody of a different culture.
Chinese are deeply rooted in their culture; they trace their identity through a process called “guanxi”, which means looking for one’s identity in tradition (Scott, and Charlton 12-23). Unity and peace are highly advocated and supported by Chinese culture. China national and official language is Standard Mandarin, which is a standardized form of spoken Chinese. Over a billion people, approximately 85% of the county’s population, have Chinese as their native language (Ambler, Morgen, and Chao 46-56).
Japan shares a similar high context culture with china. Japanese are conservative of their culture; it almost remains static.
Chinese culture and international business
Goods and services sold by a company should be acceptable in their target market segment. When doing business in China, understanding what Chinese value is important. The approach of marketing is determined by the culture of the people a company is selling. Chinese “guanxi” culture affects how marketers are welcomed in the country.
For example, if high-ranking Chinese personnel market products, then the spirit of localism adopted by the Chinese will work for the good of the company. If foreigners drive marketing, it is likely not to be successful, as the Chinese will find them as foreigners.
Standard Mandarin is the language spoken by majority of Chinese. For an effective marketing, communication is important. Marketers in China for foreign companies should be local Chinese who understand and communicate with the language well. In case the marketing head is a foreigner, learning Standard Mandarin is important, as it will make communication easy.
Chinese and the Americans are competitors in industrialization. This notion has created a negative attitudes and beliefs towards American companies. To counter this, the company will constantly improve product and services to enjoy the benefits of product differentiation.
Much emphasis will be on quality of products. Marketing terms will have a majority of Chinese native. Associating with people who have political and social influence will be used as a strategy to change Chinese negative attitude toward American companies. Social corporate responsibilities practices will be focused on projects that create close relation with the community (Ilan 3).
China and Japan have a high context culture where few words mean a lot. Though culture is dynamic, high context cultures are slow to change. When doing business, marketing strategies should be developed after understanding the target market beliefs, values, norms, language, and attitude. Marketing strategies that create close relation with the people are likely to be effective. In the case of China, a strategy that can takes advantage of “guanxi” will be effective.
Ambler, Tim, Morgen Witzel, and Chao Xi. Doing Business in China. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2008. Print.
Ilan, Alon. Chinese economic transition and international marketing strategy. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003. Print.
Scott, Morton, and Lewis Charlton. China: Its History and Culture. New York: McGraw-Hill.2005. Print.