ezekiel's chariot - 張敦楷 (pjammer) wrote,
ezekiel's chariot - 張敦楷

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Negotiations, China-Style

Unflinchingly vicious and dead-on accurate, Guerillas in the China Mist offers pointed observations on Chinese business culture from an outsider's perspective.

Negotiating in China

Forget everything you learned about "Getting To Yes" and all that other touchy feely crap about both sides working together to reach a win-win solution. The goal of the Chinese in any negotiation with Westerners is to steal as much money from the Westerner as possible. This "money" can take the form of cash or other benefits. In some cases, what Chinese negotiators will steal from you is completely worthless to them. So why would they want to steal it? Simply put, in order to screw you and take revenge for something Marco Polo said in his book about China. In other words, we don't know why.

Building Your Strategy

Faced with the above noted Chinese strategy, what strategy should you use? If you try the 'win-win strategy' approach, you will get cut to pieces and be lucky to escape alive WITHOUT a contract. At worst, you will get butchered and tricked into signing a terrible contract, be fired by your employer, and end up homeless on the streets of Shanghai. Take our word for it, there ain't no homeless shelters or soup kitchens to fall back on in China. So get some good advice and make a plan long before you get involved in negotiating in China.

Face The Facts In Advance: The Chinese Will Kick Your Western Ass In Most Negotiations

Keep in mind that the Chinese are negotiating machines from the moment they are born. They negotiate for every scrap of food, every stitch of clothing, every drop of loyalty ... everything tangible or intangible they ever touch or need throughout their entire lives. On top of that, they have a totally different ethical system from Westerners. They have no qualms at all about lying, stealing, cheating, etc. as long as it is good for themselves and helps them achieve their goal. In fact, they don't even have a good way of describing something as "ethically and morally correct" in the Chinese language. If you ever ask a Chinese person to describe this concept in Chinese, they will only use Chinese words like "correct or incorrect" and "should and should not" which have no foundation in ethics or morality. They are 100% focused on the results i.e. if something was unsuccessful, then it was "incorrect" or "should not" have been done. (We are getting a little deep here, we know. Just wait until you get to China and see for yourself. You'll understand our meaning then much more clearly). These two cultural traits combine to make the Chinese negotiating machines that you will face well primed to chew you up and spit you out. Scared yet? You should be.
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