San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) May 25, 2005
Meridian Resources, a global leader in helping companies gain an intercultural competitive advantage by building and leveraging their global resources, announced today essential guidelines for foreign companies doing business in China.
Because the most commonly spoken language in the world is Chinese and not English Â 20 percent of the world's population speaks some variation of Chinese of which there are multiple dialects Â many foreign companies often face a complex and challenging business environment.
One factor that makes conducting business in China so complex is that the Chinese will deliberately use dialects as a way of regulating whom they choose to include in a conversation. The ability to shift into a local dialect represents a powerful communication method and a regulator of social interaction, negotiations, and sales.
ÂAlthough it is perfectly possible for a sales team to market and sell its product or service anywhere in China using Mandarin, it is much more effective if the team can speak to its prospects and customers in their local dialect,Â said Lisa Spivey, Director of Business Development at Meridian Resources. ÂThis is because speaking the local dialect brings a sense of closeness, community, and linguistic kinship that helps build trust and confidence in the product or service.Â
Meridian Resources recommends the following guidelines for non-Chinese firms doing business in China:
Â It is a good idea for any foreign business in China to have a clear linguistic "map" of its operations in China, and to ensure that key Chinese managers in each region are able to speak the local dialect. This will confer a huge advantage in everything from motivation and development of local staff to negotiations with local officials.
Â The easiest way to ensure this linguistic match is, of course, to hire locally. Sending employees from Shanghai or Beijing to manage an operation in the interior of China, for example, may be necessary from a technical or leadership standpoint. But even experienced operators will benefit from having trusted colleagues who speak the local language and can use it to build strong ties - the level of spoken Mandarin in many rural areas with their own unique linguistic and cultural heritage may be limited.
Â During the candidate interview process, ask where a candidate is from and what dialects he or she speaks in order to ensure the best possible match of talent, business need, and geography. With increased mobility in China today, qualified candidates for a job - for instance, people from Chengdu who speak the Sichuanese Chengdu dialect - might be found in cities as far away as Harbin in the north or Kunming in the south.
Â Ensure that overseas Chinese who are sent to China are familiar with the dialects spoken in their destination. Many Western firms naively assume that because a person is ethnically Chinese, he or she will be able to handle both Mandarin and local dialects. Those who learned the language at home and were educated in English may only speak Cantonese, for example, and not Mandarin, and would therefore find an assignment in Tianjin in the northeastern part of China to be based on impossible expectations.
Â Non-Chinese learners of the language should take the time to learn at least a few expressions characteristic of the local dialect in order to demonstrate their interest and commitment in the region.
To learn about Negotiating in China, view our webcast, which covers strategies for overcoming common obstacles and best practices when negotiating in China: http://www.meridianglobal.com/workinginchina/
About Meridian Resources
Founded in 1990, Meridian Resources is a global leader in helping companies gain an intercultural competitive advantage by building and leveraging their global resources. They offer blended model solutions combining web-based knowledge tools with training and consulting services. Meridian Resources is headquartered in San Francisco with offices and affiliates in Asia, Europe and Latin America. For more information visit http://www.meridianglobal.com
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