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Although China has just been ranked the world’s second most importance country for companies’ future business goals, it is also among the world’s most challenging to relocate to.
A report by Cartus identified the five challenges companies face in relocating staff to Greater China:
- Intercultural issues
- Finding suitable local candidates
- Controlling relocation/assignment costs
- Language issues
Jenny Castelino, director of intercultural and language solutions in Cartus’ APAC region, commented: “A successful job transfer to China depends, to a significant degree, on an understanding of Chinese culture and of the traditional cultural values, such as hierarchy, saving face, and relationships.”
Guanxi, or relationships, are very important in China, the report pointed out.
“To build trust initially, you will need to make a good first impression by having a third party introduce you to a new group or contact,” it stated.
Another aspect was the concept of hierarchy, deeply embedded in China’s culture.
The report explained: “Subordinates are not likely to correct superiors in group settings, and decisions are typically made at the highest levels in the organisation.”
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A third good practice to adopt for successful relocation into china was attention to “saving face”.
“In China, face (or one’s reputation, to define the term loosely) can be lost, given, and/or saved,” stated the report.
“Even beyond not correcting their superiors, subordinates usually do not ask questions of them in group settings, and confrontation is to be avoided.”