J. Weiland, Slice & Co. Advises CEOs That Cultural Insights Can Enhance Business Relationships as Spotlight Turns to China’s Emerging Middle Class

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With a burgeoning global middle class with expected purchasing power of $56 trillion in less than two decades, China, as a dominant world player, is already shifting to a new consumer-led economy. To leverage this shift, the business transformation experts at J. Weiland, Slice & Co. offer five tips for businessmen, seeking cultural insights that will help to build and strengthen their relationships with Chinese partners, clients and this consumer market.

Learning a few basic Chinese words and phrases will help open communications and goes a long way in establishing a good business relationship.

The global landscape is shifting its competitive focus to the middle class. By 2030, this consumer market is expected to double its combined purchasing power to $56 trillion. Further, the spotlight is on China, a dominant player, as it shifts its focus from the factory to a consumer-led economy. However, though China is a huge potential for global business, this marketplace portends disaster if one ignores cultural insights. The business transformation experts at J. Weiland, Slice & Co. offer five tips for building powerful business relationships with Chinese partners, clients and an exploding consumer market.

The first tip is about names. The Chinese will often give an English name to be used when addressing them. However, a savvy businessman will immediately learn and practice the Chinese names of clients, buyers and sellers. Doing so will indicate a sense of caring about who they are as a person. If they wish their English names to be used instead, they will say so. In the meantime, the relationship starts on a sturdy foothold.

The second tip involves listening, asking questions and speaking very slowly. Most Chinese in business have taken English in high school and at the university level. However, speaking slowly and very, very clearly is essential if they are to follow the conversations. The use of simple words is best, followed by apt listening.

The third tip demands research. China is one of the world’s oldest civilizations and has written history dating back to the Shang Dynasty, 1700-1046 BC. A brief study via the internet or a few good books should uncover fascinating details about the geographical area and the history of cities where business clients or partners are located.

However, expecting to remember all the facts is unrealistic. Nonetheless, even a few tidbits about the history, geography or culture along with genuine interest will go far in building a mutual business relationship with a Chinese counterpart.

The fourth tip requires learning a few basic Chinese words and phrases. These few words, though rudimentary, will help open communications.

  •     Ni hao – Hello (when used speaking face-to-face)
  •     Wei – Hello (when used answering a phone)
  •     Ni hao ma – How are you?
  •     Hen hao – I am very good.
  •     Nin gui xing – What is your surname? (In Chinese, the last name is first)
  •     Wo xing (Smith), jiao (Smith, John) – My surname is Smith, I’m Smith, John.
  •     Zaoshang hao – Good Morning
  •     Wanshang hao – Good Evening
  •     Quingwen – Excuse me, please.
  •     Xiexie – Thanks.

The fifth tip is to take Mandarin lessons from a licensed Chinese teacher. Not only will this lead to an expanded Mandarin vocabulary but also to the nuances of four tones and one neutral tone, so important in the pronunciation of the language, according to Jim Weiland, Principal of J. Weiland, Slice & Co.

Jim Weiland is a global consultant, specializing in business transformation diagnostics and mentoring. His expertise is based on over 40 years of experience, including numerous engagements in China.

“An unexpected benefit of taking Mandarin is that you will learn the cultural heritage behind the words and Chinese characters,” he reported. “Not only will this help you strengthen your business relationships but your subsequent understanding and respect of the Chinese culture will last long beyond your casual use of the language.”

About J. Weiland, Slice & Co., LLC:
J. Weiland, Slice & Co., LLC, specializes in business transformation diagnostics and mentoring, targeting small to mid-market companies. Co-founder Jim Weiland and his team of experts are ex-IBM project executives with a diversity of worldwide management and consulting experience. As consultants, they help companies in need of Fortune 500 expertise but without the resources of a large corporation. The company is based in Charlotte, North Carolina, with consultants in Canada, Latin America and United States. Website is http://www.jweilandslice.com


Juliette Weiland, Principal
J. Weiland, Slice & Co., LLC

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