In this post I will talk about negotiating deals and managing expectations with Chinese clients. We received quite a few insightful comments on this issue from people who work as consultants in China. The overall conclusion was that closing deals and getting paid is particularly hard for people selling ideas and expertise rather than goods. Still, negotiating with Chinese businessmen (and -women) is a challenge that anyone doing business in China has to deal with sooner or later.
You have probably already heard of Guanxi, the Chinese version of using and maintaining “connections.” It is one of the central concepts driving interpersonal and business relations alike here in China. The rapid modernization with all its advantages and shortcomings that China has experienced in the past decades has not changed the influence of that fundamental idea. Quite the opposite: in times when the official motto is to become rich (by whatever means possible), the Guanxi factor looms large.