Hello! I’m Tamara 叶清影, the new business development intern in the Qingdao Office. I am very excited for this opportunity to experience innovation in Qingdao and to establish Guanxi.
Guanxi: the system of social networks and influential relationships which facilitate business and other dealings.
I am a Product Design graduate from Loughborough University who is fascinated by Chinese Culture and their ambition to grow and innovate. As the term ‘innovation’ was constantly drilled into me at university, it seemed logical to go to China, a country that has been in the spotlight in the global innovation system for many years.
Although I have been intrigued by China and its unique culture, the only knowledge I had was taken from a few history lessons and books. Therefore, I prepared myself with an open mind, low expectations and ni hao!
Without a doubt Qingdao is beautiful! There is so much to explore, the beaches, the mountains, the culture and food and beer! If you are a sport lover, then this is the place to be! The air quality here is much cleaner compared to the rest of China, which make it’s a great place to exercise. There are also many spectacle routes to run along the sea promenade, around the university tracks and up Fushan.
Qingdao has the most laid-back vibe; the Chinese seem quite content with life and are very welcoming to foreigners. On occasion, I have been invited to birthday celebrations where the whole family have taken turns to take pictures with me!
With regards to its innovation, Qingdao is still evolving. Although, the start-up culture isn’t as pronounced as in Zhuhai and Chengdu, there are huge developments occurring in Qingdao’s International Economic Cooperation Zone. Work has begun on a Sino-German Ecopark and a China-Britain Innovation Industry Park. The latter consequent of a collaboration between the city of Liverpool and Qingdao. Not only will this further strengthen Sino-UK relations but will open-up vast opportunities for British firms. When in Qingdao I would also recommend checking out the Creative100 park, the Robotic Centre and Graphene Innovation Centre.
The thing that struck me the most with China, considering its size, is its efficiency, especially with its transport. In just 15 years China had drawn up and built a high-speed railway network covering 14,000 miles. (Bear in mind it has taken 8 years for the UK Government just to agree on HS2). With respect to innovative technology, I believe that en masse, China is winning. For example, the app WeChat not only allows you to chat, but you can also transfer money, contact and follow people.
Working at InternChina, has both been busy and rewarding right from the start! There is never a dull moment in the office! From graphic design, to networking, to organising activities and trips for the interns.
Hopefully, during my time here, I will try to master the basics of Mandarin and build friendships in this wonderful, rapidly evolving, innovative country!
If you want to experience China and establish your Guanxi, then apply now!
Congratulations! You have acquired an internship in China! By now, you must have researched all about how to successfully communicate and work with your soon to be Chinese co-workers. Through the research you have gathered, you must have read about “face’’ and “guanxi’’ a lot. Well, here’s a bit more, with tips and advice from two of our partnered companies here in China!
What is Guanxi or Mianzi?
Here is a quick introduction for those that don’t know these two concepts. Guanxi, or “relationships,” is used to describe relationships in their many forms. These can be between friends, families, or businesses.
You can read more about the concept of guanxi from James here, but it is absolutely essential to conducting business and succeeding in China.
Mianzi or “face”, explained here, is so important in Chinese social, political, and business circles that it can literally make or break a deal! It can be translated as “honour”, “reputation” and “respect,” and the concepts are deeply rooted in the Chinese culture.
So how do you achieve Guanxi and Mianzi??
There are a few ways you can better your guanxi and gain some mianzi- read some comments from our partnered companies on how best to do it!
“Be open-minded, curious, and prepared!” – Marketing firm
The lifestyle and the business environment in China is different than it is in the West, so have an open mind for your new lifestyle here in China. You need to try being patient and understanding of your new cultural surroundings and work with potential language barriers.
Ask lots of questions while you are at your internship! Don’t worry about bothering your new co-workers, they want to help you, so ask away!
You should also engage in conversations while you are at social events, such as dinners, with your coworkers- this a great way of building your “guanxi!” However, you should remember to keep your questions reasonable and appropriate for the situation. You don’t want to ask any questions which might embarrass or cause your coworkers to lose face themselves.
Even though you might not know much about China in general, the city you are in, or the language, you can always do a bit of research to show you care enough to learn. This might mean doing some research before you visit, and continuing to ask questions and engage while you are there.
“Offer to buy dinner or go out to eat, and asking for help with and opinions on your work.” – Education company
But this doesn’t need to be anything fancy! Even something simple such as grabbing some nice dumplings or noodles at lunch can do the trick. Spending some quality time with your co-workers will be good for your guanxi and networking, and for your daily working life! If your coworkers ask you out for dinner after a long day of work, take the chance and enjoy a good meal and conversations- you will build your guanxi, mianzi and social circle!
Finally, ask for help when you need it. This is still an internship! You aren’t expected to know everything, so don’t be afraid to ask for advice when you don’t know something. Asking a colleague will show you are engaged and interested in the work, and they will appreciate sharing their knowledge of the task with you and gain face. It’s as great to earn as it is to give face!
Feeling ready for that internship now? Best of luck and enjoy your time in China!
Don’t have an internship yet? Check out 5 reasons why you should get one in China!
This week in Chengdu I had the pleasure of attending the Chengdu Women in Business workshop organized by Chengdu Expat. It is a four-series event to encourage the professional development and entrepreneurship by sharing resources and knowledge of like-minded business women in Chengdu. As a business student in my final year, I try to attend as many of these workshops as possible. Not only do you learn about other people’s stories but you build a great network.
These workshops provide professional assessments, books, interactive exercises with professional coaching. We went through the books self-assessment over the areas of “How you play the game, how you act, how you think and how you brand & market yourself, how you sound, how you look and lastly, how you respond”. It gave me an insight of what I am strong at and which area needs improving. The night essentially consisted of how we can stop making unconscious mistakes in business.
One of the things that really impressed me was when the guest speaker, Raquel Ramirez, mentioned that at the age of 15 she already knew exactly what she wanted to do in life and what it required to get there. That is something that fascinates me, people that can have that drive and focus to achieve all they set out to do and more!
Though, it doesn’t come easily, as Raquel mentioned; sometimes we go through bumps in the road such as family issues, financial stability, other people’s judgement or even sadly, your own securities and low confidence. Despite all of this, the atmosphere in the room was electric, a room full of strong, similar minded women that came together to learn what it takes to succeed as a professional.
So, it got me thinking, what decisions have I made in the past that have helped me to where I am and where it will lead me in the not-so distant future. For sure, one of them was moving to the Netherlands to continue studying. This later gave me the opportunity to study abroad in China where I fell in love with the country and its culture. That ultimately ended with me moving to Chengdu, where I am doing my final year internship at InternChina.
What was yours? Let me know what was your turning point decision and where you are now or even heading!
You’ve finally handed in that last piece of coursework, those end of term exams are fast approaching (if not already in full swing), and despite promising yourself for the whole year that you’d never do it, you’ve actually waited outside the university library at 7am for the doors to open so you can get the good seat. I’ve been there.
The light at the end of the tunnel might seem as far away as it’ll ever be right now, but before long, it’s all over and you’re left with three months of freedom, a headful of ambition but there’s a good chance you’re still asking yourself the question: What am I going to do with my summer, and how am I going to make it worthwhile? Join your parents for that walking tour of the Pennines? Finally sit down and read all that George Orwell and Emily Bronte that you’ve been meaning to read for the last two years? An internship abroad? (hint hint – it’s the last one!)
So here they are: the six killer reasons why a summer internship abroad is a great way to combine travel with training for the professional world! In short – a solid investment in your future and a fantastic opportunity to make lasting memories!
1 – Gain hands-on experience in the workplace
Joining a company as an intern is a great way to learn how businesses and organisations work in the real world, and not just on paper. This is especially the case for start-ups and small to medium-sized businesses, where you get the chance to see first-hand how businesses grow and transition into larger and more mature entreprises. Far from fetching the coffee and making photocopies, interns play a vital role in keeping the cogs of a business turning and if they excel in their position, can have a real impact on the direction of their host company!
2 – Immerse yourself in another culture
More so than if you were simply passing through as a traveller, interns in a country like China have the time to truly immerse themselves in the local culture and learn about what it means to be a citizen of another society. Because you’ll be working alongside them and sharing your day-to-day life with them, you will learn to eat, drink, work and play like a local. There’s no better way to smash your stereotypes about a country than to go there in person and share a hearty cup of baijiu with your coworkers who have lived there their whole lives!
3 – Prepare yourself for a truly globalised world
Interning in a country like China can prepare you in so many ways for the world of the future – you will gain vital work experience, learn how business is conducted in a country that is rapidly becoming the main trade partner of every other country in the world, learn to adapt to quickly changing working environments and function as part of an international team. Moreover, the skills you acquire during your experience interning abroad will make you stand out among your peers and will boost your future employability to no end!
4 – Help to define your career path
You may find that undertaking a summer internship helps you to discover that hidden specialism you never realised you loved! The flexibility of many internships means that you get a chance to try out the various different areas of specialism in one field of work. For example, you could well find that social media marketing really isn’t your jam, but at the same time you discover that you secretly had a burning passion for events management that you would never have known of unless you tried it out during your internship! You will also make countless contacts in your field of internship that could later prove to be a lucrative entry-point into the career path of your dreams!
5 – Learn a new language
It might seem like an intimidating (or nearly impossible!) feat to accomplish in one short summer, but an internship abroad is completely packed with chances for you to learn the basics of the language of your host country! Aside from the option to attend language classes, your coworkers will no doubt be more than happy to teach you some useful phrases to help you get by (or at least the more useful insults), and the value of being able to communicate to colleagues and business partners in their mother tongue cannot be overstated enough!
6 – Come back with some great stories
Last, and certainly not least, completing a summer internship in a country such as China can be a challenging, bewildering, bemusing, enriching and mind-boggling experience all at the same time! You will be interning alongside people from all around the globe with different experiences, backgrounds and perspectives on the world, which makes for a pretty unique summer. You may have to tackle culture shock head-on, but you will no doubt board your plane home with a suitcase full to the brim with lasting memories, heartfelt friendships, and maybe even a cuddly panda keyring stuffed in the bottom.
Since China decided to open up their market to the world, known as 改革开放，Gaige Kaifang in 1978 major trade opportunities have developed from having access to such a large number of clients.
China is a country that loves technology and is developing faster than anyone could have predicted. As the country becomes richer, so does it’s people and thus their desire for modern products and fashionable items grows. The picture above highlights the level of development in only 20 years.
Major brands such as Apple, Intel, and Gillette and taken the country by storm, offering high quality products. Furthering this, there is a growing sense of consumerism here with locals opting to spend more on luxury items, such as coffee. Thus whilst China is still a developing country, even those who don’t earn a lot are willing to pay for high end, luxury products.
The fashion industry has also become highly popular among the richer population, with designer brands being displayed in every shopping centre. These brands often use western models and designs, which attract customers who want to show off their wealth. Beauty products, especially for women have taken off as some of the most popular foreign items for women,often being seen as better quality than their Chinese counterparts.
If you are looking to expand your business, the Chinese market is probably the best way to go. Locals are willing to pay top dollar for products which they believe are trustworthy and valuable. This creates a market for expensive goods in China, as it provides locals with an outlet to demonstrate their wealth and success.
By cleverly marketing your products as high end, expensive and with a modern feel, you’re business is likely to boom in the Chinese market. And remember, for many Chinese , when buying luxury items, west comes out best.
For more Chinese business insights, check out one of our interns blogs at http://chinesebusinessblogblog.wordpress.com
We spent a morning with the Overseas Brand Marketing Manager for Recycling Times Media Corporation to ask him a few questions about his company, internships and China. Here is a brief summary of what he had to say. For the full interview with Taylor go to our YouTube channel.
Could you introduce us to your company?
Recycling Times Media or RT Media is an industry publication for the print consumables industry. We publish a monthly magazine and organise trade shows for suppliers, retailers, wholesalers and franchisers to meet face to face and discover new products.
Tell us about your internship positions.
Whilst there are some baseline duties that our interns are required to fulfil (mainly managing our overseas social media channels), it is my approach to lay out the ground work of what the brand marketing department does, and then help guide interns into a project based roll that best suits their skills, interests and timeframes with the company.
What are the benefits for an intern coming to RT Media?
We have 50 employees here in Zhuhai, and out of them only two are non-Chinese; so any interns coming from outside of China to work here will get a very unique and wholly Chinese experience.
Tips for an intern to get the most out of their time in China.
I think it’s important to try stray off the beaten path a little bit, a little bit of adventurous spirit can go a long way. Chinese are extremely and notoriously accommodating, so it’s really important to not be too intimidated by the big cultural and language barriers.
Describe a part of business culture etiquette in China.
When you take a business card always use two hands and take time to examine the content of the card.
How do you like living and working in Zhuhai？
I really like it! Zhuhai is an amazing city; we have the coast here, we have great proximity to Macau and Hong Kong, and of course it’s always easy to get out into the countryside if you are looking to explore some of the more traditional elements that China has to offer.
If you are excited about doing an internship with a company such as Recycling Times apply here.
InternChina in association with HWAO Consulting would like to invite our partners to an exclusive business talk with Henrik Larsen. This will be a fantastic opportunity for your HR to sample a training delivery by HWAO Consulting and Henrik.
Date: 30th June 2016 (6月30日)
Time: 2pm (下午2点)
Address: An Guang Century Mansion, Floor 5, 2099 Feng Huang North Road, Xiangzhou, Zhuhai (珠海市香洲区凤凰北路2099号安广世纪大厦五楼)
Registration: RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday 28th June 2016 – please include name and job title of attendees in the e-mail. Spaces are limited.
NB: The talk will be delivered in English.
Mr Henrik Larsen will deliver an insightful presentation on comparisons between Chinese and Western culture reflecting on the cultural differences encountered in the business world. Participants will be invited to join the discussion and share their own opinions and observations that they may have encountered during their own careers.
Mr Henrik Larsen, the principal coach and consultant at HWAO Consulting, has a background in banking, IT, manufacturing, R&D and high-tech electronics. Besides his initial financial education, Henrik also has an engineering degree and IEP from INSEAD as well as being a graduate of the Hong Kong ProgressU, Professional Corporate Coach Certification Program (PCCCP). With experience across three continents, including 18 years of management experience in China, he has a comprehensive understanding of working in cross culture environments. Mr Larsen’s entrepreneurship has led him to co-founding Danish Chamber of Commerce South China and the FISC General Manager forum in Zhuhai City.
HWAO Consulting, founded in 2012, is a boutique management consulting provider working with individuals and corporations who desire to better understand and improve their position in China, through business consultancy, board work, workshops and training, and executive, team and expat coaching. HWAO Consulting values harmony, customer orientation, ethics, result orientation and continuous improvement, all of which are reflected in the company’s branding. The Chinese character和 (hé) used in both peace and harmony, combined with a bullseye represents HWAO Consulting’s philosophy; ‘Harmony With An Objective’.
The scope of work that HWAO Consulting undertakes is quite wide, benefiting the client and allowing them to support all the Steps of Change (discovery, assessment, implementation, re-assessment, education, influencing, persuading, facilitating, coaching, and finally auditing or assessing the result). The three main lines of services are Consultancy, Training Workshops and Coaching.
For more information please click here or scan QR code:
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When coming to China, two of the most difficult cultural concepts to grasp are Guānxi (关系) and Face; both of which are quite interlinked. In the west Guanxi (or networking) is becoming more predominant in business (not to the extent that is in China), but still, it is growing.
The concept of ‘Face’ however, and gaining and losing face, is something that we are not so familiar with in the west. MiànZi (面子) or Face as we know it, translating there or thereabouts as ‘honour’, ‘reputation’ and ‘respect’ is so important in Chinese social/political/business circles that it can literally make or break a deal. If you are coming to China for business or any activity for that matter is it important to be aware of ‘face’ and how you may come across it in your day-to-day life here.
Face can predominantly be split into 2 parts: ‘Losing Face’ and ‘Giving/Gaining Face’.
- Losing Face – Showing a weakness or criticising someone in public will damage their reputation and both them and yourself could lose face.
- Giving/Gaining Face – Giving someone a compliment or giving an expensive gift will earn yourself or someone face.
In Chinese business circles hierarchy is more predominant than what we may be used to; the distinction between different levels of management is much clearer and more important, and with this in mind respecting superiors is well observed. In a Chinese environment a subordinate would rarely question, interrupt or disagree with their manager, especially in a public setting. This would cause a huge loss of face for the manager and potentially the company. When dealing with your superiors or elders in China it is always important to respect their position and ensure that they ‘keep face’. So if you are making a toast with your manager make sure that your glass is below theirs-this way you maintain respect and give them face.
You may also find that as a foreigner Chinese employees are scared to approach or talk to you. They may not be so confident in their English skills and fear that by talking English with you, they might show a weakness and lose face. If you come across this kind of situation, assure them that you are impressed by their English skills, give them compliments, and even try your own hand at Chinese, they will automatically feel a lot more comfortable around you and at the same time you will be improving their face.
Westerners, when conducting business and trying to seal deals, are used to straight forward answers from partners or clients whether it be a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’. This is not always the case in China; negotiations can often seem quite drawn out and sometimes a conclusive decision may not ever be reached. Direct refusals or disagreements are uncommon in China, there is a fear that a negative decision may cause both sides to lose face. A more common response is ‘maybe’ or ‘I will think about it…’, or it might even be that a tricky situation is ignored until it is forgotten about. In Chinese circles they know how to read between the lines, but foreigners may find this situation more awkward or frustrating. Sometimes an initial ‘yes’ to save face might mean a ‘no’ in the long term. The best thing to do is be patient, take a deep breath and try resolve the situation privately.
If you’re coming over to China here are some tips on MianZi 面:
Tips for giving/gaining face:
- Paying someone a compliment.
- Inviting someone out for dinner (and picking up the bill).
- Giving an expensive gift when meeting someone.
Tips to avoid losing face:
- Calling someone out on a lie.
- Criticising, disagreeing with or questioning someone’s decision.
- Directly refusing an invitation to a dinner or event.
Whilst a lot of companies in China have experience dealing with Westerners and vice versa, face is deeply rooted in China’s society and history; its importance will never fade. If you are able to uphold the fundamentals of face and give your colleagues and managers face it will always be appreciated.
If you have an urge to learn more about face and Chinese business culture during an internship, then apply here.