With 1.3 billion people, China is the world’s most populous country and its second largest economy. The culture of the Chinese people is ancient and unique and understanding it is crucial not only to finding a job in China but also surviving there. This CareerProfessor.works infographic offers the core of Chinese work culture.Click here for a legend of the infographic.
Owing to the country’s deep Confucian traditions, everybody in the Chinese workplace has a social rank. All are expected to know where they fit into this tight hierarchy and to behave with the appropriate etiquette. For example, seating during business meetings is always arranged according to rank. At dinners the guest of honour will always be given a seat facing the door.
Decisions are often made through consensus and individuals are expected to follow the group decision. It is considered a high honour to be involved in a discussion and asked for your opinion.
Punctuality is very important in China. The Chinese are rarely late and will be offended if you are tardy. However, they do not deal with the pressure of time as Western people do. They will feel offended if a Western partner presses a deal because of ‘deadlines’ and ‘time’.
Appointments in China are usually made at very short notice. If you try to make an appointment for next week, you might surprise your Chinese colleagues: How can you possibly expect us to plan so far ahead? It is wise to confirm your appointment a day before to ensure that it won’t be missed. Keep in mind, however, that being late for an appointment is considered a serious insult in Chinese business culture.
The Chinese once dressed very conservatively. Nowadays you are much more likely to see the latest international fashions. However, subdued and neutral colours remain the norm in the Chinese workplace. Men are expected to wear suits. Women have more leeway, but blouses and tops should have high necklines and dresses should not be too extravagant. For both men and women it is important for clothes to be clean and neat.
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