En arrivant en Chine, deux des concepts culturels les plus difficiles à appréhender sont ;
- Guānxi – 关系
- Face – 面子
Ces deux concepts sont très liés. En occident les Guanxi , ou le développement de son propre réseau, devient de plus en plus important dans les affaires mais pas autant qu’en Chine ! C’est en effet beaucoup plus important en Chine, chez nous cela continue à se développer doucement .
Cependant, le concept de «face», c’est à dire savoir qui gagne et qui perd la face, nous est bien moins familier en occident. MiànZi – 面子 signifie le visage tel que nous le connaissons, se traduit ici par «honneur», «réputation» et «respect». Il est si important dans les cercles sociaux / politiques / économiques chinois qu’il peut littéralement faire ou défaire un accord professionnel. Si vous venez en Chine pour affaires ou pour toute autre activité, il est important que vous connaissiez le concept de “face” et la manière dont vous pourriez avoir à le gérer dans votre vie quotidienne ici.
Dans le milieu des affaires chinoises, la hiérarchie est plus importante que ce à quoi nous sommes habitués; la distinction entre les différents niveaux de direction est beaucoup plus claire et plus importante et, dans cette optique, le respect des supérieurs est bien observé.
Dans un environnement chinois, un subordonné pose rarement des questions, n’est pas en désaccord avec son responsable et ne l’interrompt surtout pas, en particulier dans un lieu public. Cela entraînerait une perte de face énorme pour le directeur et potentiellement pour l’entreprise. Lorsque vous traitez avec vos supérieurs ou vos aînés en Chine, il est toujours important de respecter leur position et de s’assurer qu’ils «gardent la face».
PS : Si vous portez un toast à votre responsable, assurez-vous que votre verre est bien au-dessous du leur lorsque vous trinquez. C’est très respectueux et vous gagnerez tous les deux de la face.Vous pouvez également constater qu’en tant qu’étranger, certains de vos collègues auront peur de vous approcher ou de vous parler directement. C’est simplement parce qu’ils ne sont pas confiants en leurs compétences en anglais , ils pourraient perdre la face si leur anglais est mauvais et que vous ne les compreniez pas. Si vous rencontrez ce genre de situation, faites-leur des compliments, et essayez de leur parler en chinois, ils se sentiront automatiquement beaucoup plus à l’aise avec vous. Savoir dire bonjour ou merci en chinois permet de donner de la face à votre interlocuteur, plutôt simple non ?
Cela marche bien sûr également en sens inverse! En effet, n’oubliez pas qu’en Chine , on essayera toujours de vous donner de la face. Dans votre stage notamment, on ne vous critiquera jamais directement sur votre comportement ou votre travail afin de ne pas vous faire perdre la face . Par exemple si vous arrivez en retard, votre manager ne vous dira rien devant tous vos collègues, mais attention c’est uniquement pour vous sauver la face, cela ne veut pas dire que c’est une bonne chose d’arriver en retard !En occident, pour faire des affaires ou tenter de sceller des ententes, nous avons l’habitude de donner des réponses directes à nos partenaires ou clients, que ce soit un «oui» ou un «non». Ce n’est pas toujours le cas en Chine. En effet, les négociations peuvent souvent sembler assez longues et parfois une décision définitive ne peut jamais être prise. Les refus ou désaccords directs sont rares en Chine. On craint qu’une décision négative ne fasse perdre la face aux deux parties. La réponse la plus courante est «peut-être» ou «je vais y réfléchir…». Parfois, il se pourrait même qu’une situation délicate soit ignorée jusqu’à ce qu’elle soit oubliée. Dans les cercles chinois, c’est devenu une habitude, ils savent lire entre les lignes, mais nous trouvons généralement cette situation gênante ou même frustrante. Parfois, un «oui» est dit pour sauver la face mais peut signifier un «non» à long terme. La meilleure chose à faire est d’être patient, de prendre une profonde respiration et d’essayer de résoudre la situation en privé, éviter à tout prix les confrontations en public au travail ou dans la vie de tous les jours en général !
Conseils pour donner / gagner la face:
- Faire un compliment à quelqu’un.
- Inviter quelqu’un à dîner (et payer l’addition).
- Donner un cadeau lors de votre première rencontre avec quelqu’un
Conseils pour ne pas perdre la face:
- Evitez de dénoncer une personne qui ment
- Ne pas critiquer, contredire ou remettre en question la décision de quelqu’un.
- Evitez de refuser directement une invitation à un dîner ou à un événement.
Alors que de nombreuses entreprises en Chine ont une expérience des relations avec les occidentaux et inversement, le concept de face est profondément enraciné dans la société et l’histoire de la Chine; son importance ne faiblira jamais. Si vous êtes capable de respecter les principes fondamentaux et de donner la face à vos collègues et à vos responsables, cela sera toujours apprécié.
Si vous avez envie d’en savoir plus sur la face et la culture d’entreprise chinoise lors d’un stage, alors postulez ici.
By Rosa Spence
On the 28th March, myself and four other representatives from the NGO I am interning with, CDNGO06, organised and accompanied farmers from Yunqiao village on an overnight visit to Mao Xian. A district 5 hours north-west of Chengdu and only 40km away from Wuchuan (the place where the earthquake hit in 2008!).
The aim of this visit was to introduce the local farmers from Yunqiao to local Sichuanese Pepper farmers in Mao Xian. These farmers have previously worked closely with WWF to increase sustainable farming of Sichuan pepper. As a result of this collaboration, their Sichuan pepper crops have become organically certified. The farming community has become a co-operative, having received support from Sichuan Rural Credit Union – an initiative established by the People’s Bank of China to provide credit to rural areas in China.
This, in turn, has led to better access to national and global markets. The NGO hopes that the farmers from Yunqiao will be able to learn and adapt some of the techniques, used by Mao Xian farmers, and apply them to their Luo Bo crops (the main crop of Yunqiao) with the aim of increasing quality and production rates.
We left the sleeping city of Chengdu at six o’clock in the morning and traveled in a minibus to Yunqiao village. Two hours north of the City, to pick up the farmers who were coming with us. As we drove for another three hours from Yunqiao to Mao Xian, I was not prepared for the scenery that I was about to witness.
The concrete jungle of Chengdu disappeared and the skyline was replaced with towering mountains, so tall that the peaks were dusted in snow. The cloudiness of Chengdu’s city sphere also dissipated and we basked in bright sunshine and crystal clear blue sky. I think it’s the first time that I have seen cloudless skies and unobstructed sun since I arrived!
Arrival at Mao Xian
On arrival at Mao Xian, the farmers and NGO Staff were taken on a tour and shown how the pepper was produced. The first station was the warehouse, where the pepper granules were stored; next, we were taken to the building where the raw pepper granules were ground down into refined powder and packaged to be sold in the national market. They weren’t kidding when they said it had a kick to it, I tasted a single granule and my tongue went numb for the next 20 minutes!
This farming co-operative has won numerous awards for their work, all of which were displayed proudly on the wall in the meeting room. The meeting between the two communities lasted for over 2 hours, with the NGO workers and the farmers from Yunqiao taking notes about how the Mao Xian farmers’ model worked. My role as the NGO’s photographer was to document the event. The host farming community were really accommodating, with tea being provided throughout and the meeting came to a close in good spirits and a formal photograph was taken.
After the formalities were completed, there was a chance to explore Mao Xian. We were taken to see some beautiful blossom trees, their delicate petals floating in the warm breeze. I got told that these trees and most of the surrounding area had been rebuilt after the area was flattened by the 2008 earthquake. The experience was also very culturally enriching, as the next day we were given the opportunity to observe a Qiang ceremony –an ethnic minority group, with a population of approximately 200,000, located in North Western Sichuan Province.
The ceremony was enchanting, consisting of singing, chanting, dancing, drumming and role play. We were then given a guided tour around an ethnographic museum, where we were told about Qiang history and also got to observe people going about their daily routines – these people still live very traditional lifestyles, making their own clothes and tools. We were fortunate enough to witness two Qiang men forging an iron blade, using two hammers and an anvil, the precision of the technique was mesmerising – clearly, a skill which has been refined over generations!
It has been a fantastic experience, I feel very fortunate to be so included in the work that the NGO is doing for local communities, they are truly committed to helping to create change at a local scale.
Inspired by Rosa’s Experience? Apply Now!
It’s now time for me to leave the InternChina team after a 6 month internship in the Qingdao office. It seemed like thanking the team for the amazing time I had will be a nice topic for my “goodbye blog”. However I’ll try to show you that you should definitely consider doing your internship there as well!
First of all, are you passionate about China and want to learn more about how to do business there? Also, the internship of your dreams is one where you’ll have plenty of responsibilities and support? Finally, are you ready to learn more about yourself and your abilities? Well, if yes you should definitely keep reading! But first, enjoy a few pictures of the Qingdao team!
Business in China
When I first arrived in the InternChina team I was asked to choose what I wanted to focus on during my internship. As I wanted to learn more about business and marketing I became a Business Development and Marketing Intern. Indeed. as part of our job here we need to find new partner companies who are seeking foreign interns. First of all, you’ll need to learn and understand to concept of face and guanxi. Then you definitely will always address companies as you should in China. As a result I was even able to assist a meeting with a company all in Chinese and understand it! Thanks to my 8 years of Chinese studies I could understand the language and process of a meeting with a Chinese partner company. Also, it’s definitely a nice way to develop your own network and make connections for the future.
Funny thing about talking to companies here in China: you use WeChat! Emojis and video calls are both easy ways to communicate, and are the keys to a successful and professional relationship! Business in China is full of surprises! Regarding the marketing part of my internship our aim was to promote our services. For example I add to posts on social medias about our activities and internship offers. I even wrote an article about it, check it out! I discovered that Photoshop wasn’t that hard to use and that we could do amazing things with it!
Responsibilities and Support from the InternChina Team
Being a little too shy to use my Chinese and actually go meet companies, I reconsidered my position and wanted to look into another aspect of the company, the one that we call “booking”. It’s basically the process between InternChina and a student who wants to find an internship in China and uses our services to do it. As I am French, I was dealing with French students. They were all dreaming of coming to China and from step 1 to the final details, I helped more than 10 students in a few weeks. By talking to future interns and helping them find the suitable company and internship for them you really feel so useful and talented when you finally succeed! As part of the Qingdao office you’ll be rewarded with a delicious Tsingtao beer!
During the whole process I was never alone. One thing you should know about InternChina when you join the team, is that you’re joining a big family. We are all connected to each other via Skype even if we are all located in different countries. One of the most important part of our services is to offer support to our participants, well within InternChina you couldn’t find a more supportive team. Even if I was probably annoying at some point – by asking too much – I was always given an answer to my questions and never felt left alone. Let’s meet some of them now!
Learn about yourself
Keep in mind that doing an internship with InternChina is the opportunity of developing the skills you wish for. By that I mean that the diversity of tasks you’ll be given will depends on your own abilities and most of all interests! That’s also a way to push yourself into tasks you wouldn’t imagine to be able to do. I didn’t believe 6 months ago that I would be able to understand and take part in a Chinese meeting. Or to enjoy watching the statistics on our Facebook page and try to find ways improving them! I really enjoyed working in the office – and if you’re not an office person well be aware that you’ll have plenty of occasion to work outside the office as well.
You’ll work within an international team, and that’s one of the best way to learn about communication and culture. With the Chinese staff members I was able to learn more about Chinese culture and develop my interest of it. With my British colleagues I learned a lot of new expressions thanks to our weekly “Quiz” – have you ever heard of Hobnobs before? As between offices we are all using Skype to communicate I developed some communication skills that I didn’t know I had before. Moreover you will also learn how to be more organized and how to prioritize your work – that’s super helpful and not only for your time at InternChina! Let me introduce you to the team you’ll have the opportunity to work with:
Even if the fact to answer the question “what’s your internship like” by saying “my internship is basically to help people find internships” is awesome – doing it is even better! Interested of doing that awesome internship, or come to China with our programmes, apply now !
’m Martin, a new Marketing intern at the InternChina Qingdao office. It’s my second time in China – I love this country ! I am also quite interested in fashion and the concept of counterfeits.
Before I came to China, I knew that China was infamous for its counterfeit items. In many countries and even in France, where I come from, the local authorities are working hard to reduce the amount of available counterfeit items. But the first time I came to China in 2016 in Nanjing, I was impressed how easy is it to find fake things and how it is displayed shamelessly by market seller on streets or in mall, or by people. Sometimes there can be some great high-quality fakes, sometimes there can be some really terrible fakes. Look at these Abibas and New-Barlun branded shoes ! Or this Abiboss sweatshirt (a great mix between Hugo Boss and Abibas brand) and this CEANHL bag, interesting Anagram.
Where can I find fake branded things?
You can find these fakes everywhere ! You can find them on the internet on sites like Taobao, in souvenir shops, and also in big markets. In these places, you need to bargain. While you can find these markets all over China, I will talk about the ones I know in Shanghai, where you can meet so many foreigners eager to find cheap fakes. In Shanghai, so many French visitors come to the market that some sellers have even learnt how to say the prices in French ! The starting price can be as much as five times higher than the true value of the item.
What products can be counterfeit?
Well-known and luxury brands are often imitated – you can find a lot of fake Louis Vuitton and Chanel products. You can also find fake tech, including cheap Beats by Dre and even fake smartphones ! There have been copies of the Apple iPhone called Goophone on the market. Even worse, in 2011, a string of fake Apple stores were found across China. In the same vein, in Qingdao, i’ve seen a lots of fake branded shops, in a mall that seemed normal, like a lot of copy of Polo brand. Or a Enzo shop. (Just one K and its ok)
Shan Zhai (山寨)
This trend of counterfeit products is not just a few sellers in markets. It can be considered a serious business model here in Chins. Due to a mix of history, culture and a pragmatic economy, business based on fake and pirated products has its own name in Chinese : shanzhai. The Shan Zhai model works thanks to more than 60% of Chinese people living in rural areas that are imitating the consumption trend in urban areas. This model has allowed some companies to break into a new market. For example, we can talk about Tencent’s QQ instant messaging service which is a carbon copy of the Israeli messaging service ICQ. Now, QQ is one of the most popular instant messaging services in China, and floated on the Hong Kong stock exchange in 2004. Indeed, it is for some companies a way to start with nothing by pushing down the cost of R&D and then implement new features to existing products to better fit the local needs and expectations. Some people defend the Shan Zhai model, saying it brings economic and social benefits by providing customer more choice at lower price. Foreign companies complain about the lack of strict rules concerning property rights in China, and trying to push Chinese governments to strengthen their control over counterfeit.
If you are interested to visit fake markets and experience China, don’t hesitate: https://internchina.com/apply/
Hello! My name is Anna, and I am from Poland. Last week I started my internship with the InternChina Dalian office, as part of the Bookings and Marketing Team.
I am currently in my third year of Business Management and Chinese at University of Central Lancashire. This year is my year abroad, so I decided to spend it half on studying, half on getting work experience.
My first semester was a Chinese language course at Beijing International Studies University. It was my second time in China, and my second time at BISU! Last year I visited that university for a two weeks long summer language course, and I liked it so much I chose BISU again!
For the work experience part in China, I chose to do my internship with InternChina. As I wanted to put the theory I have learned during my two years of studying into practice, and this internship covers all subjects of my studies, it was the perfect choice!
Dalian vs. Beijing
When I was sure that I want to do my internship with InternChina, I found it difficult to decide on which office I should choose!
I chose Dalian because of its location – at the peninsula with a lot of beaches, places for hiking and greenery, and because of its history. Dalian is definitely a very beautiful city with many cultures mixed up, which can be seen in the architecture and food.
Because of Russian and Japanese occupations, Dalian has many buildings and public places in the style of those countries. Beijing is much more homogeneous in style, thus it has more developed areas with new Western-style buildings along with suburban areas with old, grey and boring blocks.
Food in Dalian is very influenced by Korean, Japanese and Russian cuisine. I really love that variety. But the main cooking style is Shandong cuisine, with the influence of North-Eastern Chinese cuisine. This means there is a huge choice of seafood from casual fish and prawns to more sophisticated (at least for Westerners!) dishes like sea cucumber or sea urchins.
What I really like in Dalian is that it is a much less busy and crowded city than Beijing. On the streets there are much fewer people and cars, and the queues in shops are shorter.
Differences in Beijing and Dalian
One big difference between Beijing and Dalian is the subway link. I am used to travelling everywhere by Beijing subway as it is the most convenient and foreigner-friendly means of transport. On the train, you can see a board with stations in Chinese characters and Pinyin, and which station the train is approaching as well as hearing the announcement in both Chinese and English.
The Dalian subway is not that well-developed, and my apartment is not located near any metro station. But do I have a bus stop very close to my house with busses leaving every couple of minutes. The announcements are all in Chinese, so I have an opportunity to perfect my Chinese listening skills!
I have already fallen in love with the winter scenery of Dalian, with snow and all the colourful lights on buildings at night. However, I am really looking forward to warm days to explore Dalian’s most beautiful places and learn more about culture and history of that city!
If you want to be a part of the InternChina story, why not apply now!
Written by Sylvia Liu
It’s been a bit over a month now since I first began my internship experience in Chengdu with InternChina, and I can easily say that this experience is definitely one that will be remembered!
Having travelled to many other Chinese cities before, Chengdu is a breath of fresh air; not literally however, but rather in the sense of its pace of life.
Chengdu meanders peacefully through each day; while other cities rush and are filled with spontaneity. That’s not to say Chengdu is less developed economically, quite the contrary! Just as its numerous shopping centres, nightlife and still expanding public transport systems like to prove.
Personally I have found the pace of life charming. I have enjoyed spending my Sundays temple-seeing, sipping tea at monasteries, and nibbling on sunflower seeds while listening to the indistinct chatter of Sichuanese.
Food has also held a prominent role in my time here! You will be hard pressed to find a restaurant who won’t serve at least a bowl of chilli with the famous Sichuan Peppercorns along with your meal.
The old streets of Chengdu, the majority located in the inner South West of the city, are a delight to walk through. There is plenty of opportunity to snack on the delicious street food, while being surrounded by traditional architecture permeating with historical significance.
I believe that there is knowledge that can only be learned from doing an internship in China. In particular cultural proficiency, which is always a handy skill to have even if one does not pursue a career in international business.
Some of the more interesting tasks I’ve done at the company have included researching the potential of incorporating blockchain technology with gaming, as well as game testing for current beta projects.
The employees at the company are all very inclusive, and it is interesting to gain insight into general Chinese organisational culture. The food options available at lunch are an additional highlight of the workday. The local 7-Eleven is frequented often for its lunchtime pick-and-mix boxes!
The people I have met in Chengdu have been the best part of my internship yet. Being able to meet people from all over the world through my internship in Chengdu is something I’m grateful for. I always look forward to spending time with the other interns or going to events organised by InternChina, such as Thursday Dinner, or even weekend activities outside the city.
I can say with no doubt that it is the people I have met here that make this trip the enjoyable experience it has been!
Interested in seeing everything that Sylvia has during her time in Chengdu? Then apply now!
I’m sure you’ve all heard of WeChat and have managed to set up your account, however for many of you it may have ended there. Finally, after years of feeling left out of the loop, us Wai Guo Ren can saunter up to a till point and nonchalantly wave our phones at the cashier. Has anything been more thrilling than this?!
Tencent announced today that it will be accepting international bank cards as payment through WeChat wallet, meaning you no longer have to go through the hassle of opening a Chinese Bank account. This guide will help you to achieve your dreams of scanning and paying!
A Step By Step Guide
Select the “Me” icon from the bottom menu in WeChat and then select the “Wallet” option.
Select “Cards” from the top menu.
This screen may be different for some of you but essentially you want to select “Add a new card.”
With this being China, you can either snap a quick pic of your card or manually enter your card number.
After this select your bank card. If your bank doesn’t appear go ahead and select Visa or Mastercard (whichever one is applicable) and then credit card (even if it’s a debit.)
You will then be asked to enter all you personal details in the following menu.
If your region is not shown, enter your closest city, and for your phone number it’s up to you whether you use your international or Chinese number!
After entering these details your card should be connected to your WeChat!
In some cases this doesn’t allow you to transfer money from your bank account to WeChat or pay with you bank card. However it does allow you to receive money from others, so I’m sure you can ask your Chinese friends to help out if you give them some cash! Then they can transfer you the equivalent value so it’s available for you to use on WeChat!
For international payments, we always recommend using TransferWise. They’re cheaper than the banks, because they always use the real exchange rate – which you can see on Google – and charge a very small fee. They’re also safe and trusted by over 2 million people around the world. You can sign up here.
Hello everyone ! My name’s Audrey and I come from Strasbourg, France, and I just graduated with a Bachelor degree in Trade in the European Environment. As part of my studies I already had the opportunity to do an internship in Shanghai in 2015, and this was by far my most memorable and rewarding experience! The idea of going back again to China has been haunting me since, s0 now I’ll be interning in the Zhuhai office for 6 months!
I always had an interest in Asia, I could not explain it, it is just a part of me! My trips to Shanghai made me fall in love even harder. Before I arrived in Zhuhai, I wasn’t stressed at all- I waited for so long after being offered the role that it felt much more like a release to finally arrive! My adrenaline level was at its height when I jumped in the plane and made my way to Zhuhai via Hong Kong and Seoul. At the airport, my roommate and fellow office intern picked me up and brought me home!
Zhuhai so Far
It has been 1 week so far and Zhuhai is better than expected. The people are nice and welcoming, the food is delicious, the views are stunning and the relaxing vibe is amazing! The IC office staff are always keen to help and explain anything I need to know. Although I got overwhelmed in the beginning of my stay, the more time passes by, the more this experience seems like to be the opportunity I needed to move on and find my path. I kind of struggled with English at the start of my stay, but time will help and now I feel more at ease with people. Especially as I can enjoy the nightlife here with people from all over the world!
I hope to :
- Develop my “Guanxi”.
- Acquire new professional competencies through my work within an international team.
- Gain more self-confidence.
- Re-discover and deepen my knowledge of China and its business environment.
- Enjoy the city and its possibilities as well as the local culture.