Women in Business in China

Officially, women have the same rights as men in the workplace and the party has promoted this sense of equality over the past thirty years or so.

However, traditional Confucian thinking does not sit easily with this notion of gender equality and it is somewhat ironic that the liberalisation policies of the last decade might have reversed many of the advances made by women in Chinese society under the previous hard-line regimes.

Foreign businesswomen will be treated with great respect and courtesy. They may find that, within a delegation, the Chinese defer to male colleagues regardless of the actual seniority of the western party – the Chinese assumption being that the male will naturally be the decision-maker.

Having said that, it is now more and more common to encounter women in reasonably senior roles in large Chinese organisations – especially in the larger, more modern cities. Chinese women are highly successful within the education city and are actively managing their careers.

A brief overview of some key concepts to consider when doing business in China

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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Overview

China seems to grow more confident by the day. Is it too strong a statement to say that China is starting to regain its historical position as the pre-eminent global economy? The Chinese government is steadfastly following a policy of internal economic consolidation and international engagement. Wherever you are in the world you can start to feel the impact of Chinese investment and influence. China can no longer be classified as an emerging market. China has emerged and is taking on the world – much as America did in the early twentieth century and Japan in the 1970’s.

How the traditionally pre-eminent global economies such as the USA, Germany and Japan react to the growing strength of China will be fascinating to watch over the coming decades but one thing is sure – China is a force to be reckoned with and cannot be ignored. If you are not currently doing business in (or with) China, you probably should be.

However, China is not easy – somebody once said ‘in China everything is possible – but nothing is easy.’ Before starting to do business in China it is essential that you try to get an understanding of the cultural drivers and expectations of your Chinese contacts. Do you really understand the importance of ‘face’ in China and do you feel confident you can navigate the complexities of Chinese corporate hierarchy? How are you going to develop those all-important relationships and what impact will Chinese long-termism potentially have on your cash-flow forecasts?

China is a land of opportunities but it is also a land of potential bear traps. Do your homework – don’t fail through lack of research and planning.

This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Chinese business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on:

  • Background to business
  • Business Structures
  • Management style
  • Meetings
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Women in business
  • Entertaining