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Wiles (2003) note ways in which Chinese practices of technical communication are affecting foreign businesses operating in China and some of the Western methods that China has to learn to be effective. Specifically, Wiley notes how Western companies have developed single-souring skills that the Chinese will have to adopt to be successful in technical communication. Chinese culture is a high-context culture in which information is more tacit and less explicit, and Chinese culture therefore places less focus on the user. The explicit nature of Western communication works in the Chinese context because it is based on making the user understand, and the Chinese will have to adopt this same approach in order to trade with the West, where the user wants to be the center of attention and wants to be informed directly.
A report by Anthony (2003) also suggests that China's business culture is being changed by foreign involvement: "Company by company, employee by employee, they are changing the way China does business" (para. 5). For one thing, Chinese companies are being developed to compete with some Western companies and are being create as private entities and not as state-owned enterprises. The effect of Western companies in China is to show people a different way of living. Also, the American mode of management emphasizes the worth and importance of the individual and the ideas of democracy and freedom, and analysts see these values having an impact on workers inside China.
Bates (2005) notes how Chinese practices favoring Chinese firms and using protectionist and predatory practices to do so have affected Western firms. Western firms are hit by higher tariffs and other payments in order to export goods to China or to manufacture goods in China and then export them back to the West. The Chinese culture is seen as a barrier that has not been fully addressed or much affected by pressures such as those from the U.S. government, which has not much to correct the situation.
Wolff (2004) notes the growing number of foreign laboratories I China and how such entities have been attracted with the growing emergence of the Chinese consumer. Companies bringing new products into China have had to provide more support to customers on how to use or maintain the product. Many of these laboratories have been established in compliance with an agreement reached with the Chinese to do so as part of any entry into the Chinese market. In some cases, companies have to localize their products, such as when softer programs have to made compatible with Mandarin. Social practices have also changed the way some game manufacturers treat their products as when one company "noted that, unlike Western users who play games on their own computers, PRC cell users play group games over the Internet, with many thousands of users online simultaneously. This company realized that such traffic required a totally new approach to allocation of server time. Insights like this clearly began to transform tactical support into a strategic new product and service direction for businesses" (Wolff, 2004, para. 6).
Dessler (2006) cites some of the ways Western businesses change when entering China in order to fit into the Chinese business climate. First, companies still have to take account of central planning by the Chinese government, such as a government-run mandatory personnel file system, a single union, and restrictions on city migration. Human resource management in China is therefore different in spite of changes that have been made. Another issue is how the employer will confront cultural differences, as Dessler notes:
For example, in a society that emphasizes saving face, performance feedback needs to be more oblique than in the West. Many Chinese still think of their employers more as family than as employers, and may expect employers to provide for their social welfare (Purdum, 2005). Many Chinese candidates are reluctant to sell themselves during an interview because of a strong cultural bias against boasting (para. 4).
What is taking place is described by Yu (2002) as a blending of cultural business styles, which is the way multinational corporations have long been behaving in overseas venues. New entrants into China experience a clash in business cultures that they see as forcing them to choose between different styles of doing business, but Yu notes that one solution is to blend business styles into something acceptable to both sides. This is a good middle ground when each set of practices serves a discrete function, as noted by a paper that "categorizes strategies for overcoming the uncertainties of operating globally as either 'offensive,' meaning they help to localize the company to the foreign environment, or 'defensive,' meaning they protect corporate interests and reduce uncertainty and complexity" Yu, 2002, para. 2).
Anthony, T. (2003, December 12). U.S. companies changes Chinese lives - and corporate culture, too. AP Worldstream. Retrieved August 11, 2007 at http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-88501330.html.
Bates, C. (2005, July 1). Leveling the international playing field: while some foreign trade practices are simply unfair, recognizing that is one thing; doing something about it is another. American Machinist. Retrieved July 13, 2007 at http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-134386431.html.
Bodeen, C. (2006, January 25). Google Launches Search Engine in China. AP Online. Retrieved August 13, 2007 at http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-117759613.html.
China Compulsory Certification (CCC Mark) (2006). http://www.export.gov/china/exporting_to_china/CCCUpdatedInfo.pdf.
Dessler, G. (2006, September 22). Expanding into China? What foreign employers should know about human resource management in China today. SAM Advanced Management Journal. Retrieved August 14, 2007 at http://www.allbusiness.com/management/3967622-1.html.
Ghose, a.K. (2000). Trade Liberalization, Employment and Global Inequality. International Labour Review, 139 (3), p. 281.
Goldstein, C. (2001, December 8). Wal-Mart in China. The Nation, retrieved April 22, 2005 at http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20031208&s=goldstein.
Gooley, T.B. (2003, February 1). China: reforms may take awhile: China pledged to the WTO that it would loosen restrictions on foreign companies doing business there. But change is coming slowly to transportation and distribution services. http://www.highbeam.com/Search.aspx?q=china+business+foreign+change%20publication:%5B%22Logistics%20Management%20%28Highlands%20Ranch,%20Co.%29%22%5DLogistics Management.
Retrieved August 12, 2007 at http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-97998817.html.
Habib, M. & Zurawicki, L. (2002). Corruption and Foreign Direct Investment. Journal of International Business Studies, 33(2), p. 291.
Pomfret, J. (1998, December 19). China Making Life Tougher for Foreign Firms. The Washington Post. Retrieved August 12, 2007 at http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-687209.html.
Wiles, D. (2003, August 1). Single sourcing and Chinese culture: a perspective on skills development within Western organizations and the People's Republic of China. Technical Communication. Retrieved August 13, 2007 at http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-106733046.html.
Wolff, M.F. (2004, January 1). Foreign R&D labs in China see missions expand, practices advance. http://www.highbeam.com/Search.aspx?q=chinese+culture+business+foreign+practices%20publication:%5B%22Research-Technology%20Management%22%5DResearch-Technology Management. Retrieved August 12, 2007 at http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-112945079.html.
Yu, L. (2002). Blending cultural business styles. MIT Sloan Management Review 44(1), 12-13.
Zhang, M. (2002). Information Technology Policy-Making in the People's Republic of China. International Journal of Public Administration, 25 (5), p. 693.[continue]
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