Chapter Nine
I hear, I know. I see, I remember. I do, I understand
- Confucius
For the unprepared and unsupported, China can appear an unimaginably difficult market. Outside of China, culture shock as we know it has largely disappeared from our business trips, with the proliferation of recognised chains of hotels, restaurants, stores, coffee houses and the increased frequency of travel to remote places. There has been a steady erosion of the unfamiliarity or ‘otherness’ of many of the territories we choose to do business in. Cultural shock has been replaced by a more comfortable, even pleasant, ‘cultural contrast’ feeling - one we increasingly take in our stride and relish. However, in the case of China, achieving the same feeling of cultural comfort zone and a supportive, accessible environment in terms of business operations can still appear very elusive.
Some incredibly practical support systems need to be accessed if ease and a cultural comfort zone are to surround your business journey in China and become the norm for you there. First, because of a sense of cultural contrast you might experience a strong sense of disconnection in the early days of the trip. To counter this, elements of your business preparation for China, your communication style and the key strategies for connecting and communicating face are thoroughly covered elsewhere in this book and in good practical depth. Employed collectively, they act like a user ’s manual, especially ...

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