Recently, China has witnessed a tremendous flow of foreign direct investment and there are a increasing number of foreign businessmen working in Sino-foreign joint ventures, foreign representative offices, wholly foreign-owned subsidiaries and branches. Although all Chinese expatriates encountered some cultural shocks and were greatly affected by communication, language, religious and traditional issues, several effective measures for a better cross-cultural adaptation are applicable.
KFC showed great cross-cultural adaptation in China
KFC is a good example of cross cultural business practices. This American fast food brand has been successfully operating in China. KFC has made tons of cross-cultural effort in product innovation to cater to Chinese taste, and luckily these efforts were recognized. The other two key factors are Chinese translation of names and meal portfolio designs. Chinese customers regard product-related cultural adaptation as a significant aspect within all the adaptation concerns. KFC showed respect to different aspects of Chinese culture, and made some changes on their products and service considering Chinese taste, values, custom, dining habits and language. KFC owns cross-cultural adaptation projects and take full advantage of the influence of globalization and localization at the same time.
A crucial effort of cultural adaptation for business manager in China
Western expatriate business managers have to deal with a very different way of life of their staff from China compared with their own country and they have to perform in an unfamiliar work context. They have to understand faculty staff, difference in business management, difference in communication style and business reports & documents.
Do not adapt your business to China’s cliche
It is very important to build effective relationship in China. Although China`s ways of doing business are becoming more Westernized, non-Chinese executives still must work hard to build trust with their Chinese business partners. A failure was a global automotive company who entered the mainland China market following what it thought were the rules indiscreetly. It believed success under Chinese business context depended on whom you know rather than what you know. This company sponsored events and hosted lavish dinner parties to cultivate personal networks. However, these activities built a bad reputation among potential Chinese partners and lead the company to be viewed as a short-term opportunist. As the company did not seem to focus on doing business, it failed to gain trust from Chinese businessmen. It is a good example of bad cross-cultural adaption in China.
To sum up, to achieve effective cross-cultural adaptation, there are some common points to follow:
1) the language adaptation which includes the name of brand and products in order to keep good communication between the company and the consumers;
2) good design of the product portfolio which matches the Chinese consumption habits;
3) advertising and public communication should be designed to attract the attention of target market in order to meet consumers’ interest;
4) improvement of service offered by well-trained local employees;
5) innovation of the product design which meets the current market’s taste. China is made up of people from many different backgrounds. When building relationships in China, Western business people must take into account each person`s age, work experience, wealth and location, as these factors all influence each individual`s characteristics and may indicate how to best work with them.