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China Business Culture

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Many years ago, I spoke at a doing business in China seminar in Philadelphia, at which Jason Patent was one of my fellow speakers. Patent spoke on differences between US business culture and China business culture and how those differences can impact business flows between the two countries. Though I am generally skeptical of “Chinese culture specialists,” I was riveted, and have been a big Jason Patent fan ever since.

At the time of that event, Jason was a China consultant, working at Orchestrall, mostly helping American medical device manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies figure out how to navigate China.  Fast forward to today and Jason is now the American Co-Director of the Hopkins–Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing, China.

More importantly for our present purposes, however, is that Jason occasionally blogs on Chinese culture and intercultural communication and his posts are uniformly thoughtful and thought-provoking.  Quite a while back, Jason did a blog post celebrating his 100th post and listing out what he considers his blogs “greatest hits,” which he describes as “the five key posts that get at core issues around intercultural communication, especially regarding China.”  Here are those five posts, along with Jason’s comments on each of them.

The sentimental favorite has to be Post #1, “Cars and Cash,” which began to lay out some key U.S.–China differences from my research findings.

High Context, Low Context” examines a fundamental communication challenge for Westerners in China.

The Trouble with Words” takes a quick but deep dive into key linguistic issues facing anyone crossing languages and cultures.

Making Strangers Less Strange” asks: What if “we” have more of “them” inside us than we think?

And finally, “Eye of the Beholder” reviews one of the most shocking and insightful research results I have ever come across.

If you are doing business in China or with China or thinking of doing business in or with China, I strongly urge you to check out the above five posts.  They will help.

What do you think?

  • nathan

    This a thousand times over. Excellent post.