Chinese whispers: How to be heard in China (1/3)

Network Cable

Part 1 of 3 – Modern Technology

If you were asked to get in touch with a company in China, chances are you’d wonder how easy it would be to get hold of the right person and get your exact message across. Thankfully, some expert tips, based on B2B International’s first-hand knowledge of conducting business in China, are available in our white papers Market Research in China and China and the Outsourcing Opportunities.

It goes without saying that all the mod cons we use in day-to-day business are prevalent in China. In fact, chances are that they are probably all made in China! This of course means that Chinese businesspeople tend to have access to landlines, mobiles, fax machines and emails.

In many respects, Chinese mobile phone numbers will be more useful to you than a landline telephone number. Mobile telephones are extensively used in China, and business calls will frequently be taken outside of working hours or during meetings. This is clearly advantageous from a business point of view, especially given the significant time difference between the UK and China, but you may therefore want to show restraint when handing out your own mobile phone number!

In China, fax machines still play a very important role in business, unlike in the West where email has become the indispensable tool of choice. Not all businesses have reliable high speed internet/email connections, and in more traditional companies individual employees may all still share a single generic email address. Faxes, meanwhile, are seen to provide fast and safe (i.e. virus-free) delivery to the recipient, whilst providing proof of a document’s origin and source. Another key advantage is that many Chinese find it easier and quicker to handwrite Chinese characters than to type them. Of course, like with any fax, you would need to ensure that any confidential documents are expected by the recipient, to ensure that they are not read by co-workers in the office.

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