The top 6 Asian busi­ness tips

Business First - - ASIA FOCUS -

(i) Learn & Un­der­stand the Cul­ture

“When in Rome (do) learn what the Ro­mans do.” Face is ev­ery­thing – ex­pe­ri­ence tells us that ‘face’ in terms of dig­nity, pres­tige, hon­our, re­spect and sta­tus is para­mount. While Western­ers of­ten make jokes at their own ex­pense or at other people’s ex­pense, un­til you know your Asian coun­ter­parts well, hu­mour di­rected to­wards them will cause them to lose face and if they lose face you will lose busi­ness.

(ii) Why age wins

Age rep­re­sents wis­dom, ex­pe­ri­ence, rank and se­nior­ity (men and women). Be care­ful in­clud­ing too many younger team mem­bers, es­pe­cially if the client is of a ma­ture vin­tage.

(iii) So­cial in­ter­ac­tion & break­ing ‘bread’

Pre­pare to eat and drink as part of the rit­ual, it’s re­garded as the way to build deeper re­la­tion­ships. The Ja­panese call this ‘no­mini­ca­tion, which means ‘drink­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion’ and in or­der to build any kind of mean­ing­ful busi­ness re­la­tion­ship with your as­so­ciates, you must go out for din­ner and drinks... some­times to the early hours. This may be fol­lowed by a karaoke ses­sion.

(iv) Pay­ing the Bill:

In Asia, it’s usual that the host will be the boss, the head of the ta­ble, the el­dest (or per­haps some­one who is all three) who pays the bill. It’s con­sid­ered an hon­our for him/her to do so, so in­sist­ing on tak­ing the bill can be con­sid­ered quite rude. Al­low your host to pick up the tab and thank them gra­ciously for it.

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