One of the more frustrating elements with business in China is figuring out who the hell is telling the truth and who is merely feeding you a line. Mind you, I’m not saying everybody is lying. I’m just saying I was too stupid to figure out the business nuances of a 3,000 year-old market culture (Yes. Yes. Capitalism in China has existed for thousands of years. 60 years of Communism is merely a blip…so far…). When you speak to a business person in China, you will almost always be met with a courteous positive response. Whether or not action comes out of that response is entirely a different matter. There is so much deference for harmony and honour that even when they tell you to stuff it, you leave thinking that they just put in an order for two containers of your product.
So for the benefit of my readers who yearn to strike gold (possibly made from silver) in China, here is a handy guide to 10 things business people tell you that could literally mean anything. Of course this only applies to folks I’ve met personally. I’m certain all others are as solid as the goods that come out of their factories. Continue reading →