China is the most populous country in the world, along with vastness and diversity of products as well as climate, leading to clear differences between culinary cultures. That is why Chinese food cuisine is extremely diverse and unique, but still has its own characteristics of each region, rich, rich in identity, has a great influence on the cuisine of countries in the Asian region.
It can be said that the delicacy in the dishes is the full diversity in terms of aroma, color, taste to presentation and decoration. Delicious food must be eye-catching, with an aroma that captivates diners, a delicious taste of food made from fresh ingredients, and an impressive presentation. In addition, the dishes are also nutritious by the ingenious combination of foods and herbs such as sea cucumber, traditional Chinese medicine, etc.
The dishes are usually prepared in different styles such as warming, cooking, simmering, stir-frying, steaming, roasting, boiling, braising, dipping, etc. Each processing method brings a different aftertaste and feeling.
Chinese food cuisine is divided into 8 major schools: Shandong, Cantonese, Sichuan, Hunan, Fujian, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, and Anhui.
* Shandong: The first Chinese food cuisine is the Shandong culinary school. This is a province located in the lower reaches of the Yellow River, where the land is fertile. Shandong is the breadbasket of China, vegetables here are also very diverse and abundant. All of the above factors have created a unique and leading Chinese cuisine. The characteristic of the cuisine of this land is the dishes with strong, strong flavors of frying, baking, steaming with fresh colors, very eye-catching. In particular, the dishes often use a lot of onions and garlic, especially seafood dishes. Braised snails, sweet and sour carp are the two most famous dishes of Shandong.
* Cantonese: As one of the 4 main culinary schools, Cantonese food cuisine constantly absorbs the quintessence of other schools and combines Western dishes in its dishes. Cantonese dishes are very diverse in ingredients and are prepared in 21 different ways of cooking: stir-fried, deep-fried, grilled, roasted, stewed, steamed, braised, steamed in a bowl, etc. Cantonese dishes need to ensure the “4 requirements” of color, flavor, taste, shape, fresh but not raw, fat but not boring, bar and not pale. The dish also needs to be suitable for the weather, autumn and summer need to be cool, winter and spring need to be dense. In terms of ingredient combination and taste, Cantonese people prefer raw cooking. Nowadays, Cantonese people love raw fish and raw fish porridge. Guangdong has some famous dishes such as: roasted suckling pig, salted steamed chicken, roasted goose, boiled chicken, char siu pork, steamed shrimp, braised snake chicken, etc.
* Hunan: Over 2000 years of existence and development, Hunan culinary school has perfected and asserted itself by unique delicacies. Hunan cuisine is famous for its 3 ingredients, which are Huong Giang basin kitchen, Dong Dinh lake area kitchen and Hunan mountain kitchen. The menus and baking art of Hunan dishes are exquisite and flawless. The basic taste of Hunan is fatty, sour-spicy, aromatic and light. The dishes are often used a lot of chili, garlic, shallots and sauces to enhance the flavor of the dish.
* Fujian: Fujian province’s delicacies are famous for the sophistication of the menu and the elaborate preparation and special processing. Formed on the culinary foundation of the cities of Fuzhou, Huanzhou and Xiamen. In general, the dishes here are a bit sweet and sour, less salty, the main ingredients are seafood, fresh and nutritious, and delicious mountain dishes. The most famous dish here is Buddha jumping the wall.
* Zhejiang: is a combination of specialty dishes of Hangzhou, Ningbo, and Shaoxing, but the most famous is still Hangzhou dishes. The dishes here are usually not greasy, focusing on freshness, softness and light aroma. The taste of Zhejiang cuisine is fresh, soft, frugal without being boring. The cooking process is very important so not only the taste is delicious but the presentation is also extremely eye-catching. Famous Hangzhou dishes such as Dong Pha pork, Hangzhou grilled chicken, Longjing spring rolls, Tay Ho carp…
* Jiangsu: Jiangsu dishes are very elaborately and beautifully decorated like a work of art. The specialty of Jiangsu dishes is “Focus on knife technique, delicate dishes, frugal taste” with steamed, simmered, and fried dishes. Jiangsu people do not like to use soy sauce in dishes, but prefer to add sugar and vinegar to create a “sour, sweet” taste. Steamed meat and crab meat is the most famous dish here.
* Anhui: Similar to Jiangsu, Anhui cuisine is also known for its use of wild ingredients and herbs. Anhui cuisine includes three main regions: Yangtze River, Yellow River and Southern Anhui, in which Southern Anhui cuisine plays a key role with its salty, delicious, and pleasant aroma. The most famous dish here is the gourd duck.
* Sichuan: with very spicy dishes. Szechuan dishes focus on color and flavor with many flavors of numbness, spicy, sweet, salty, sour, bitter, aromatic, skillfully mixed and flexible. Not only that, the dishes here also have many ways of changing flavors, suitable for the taste of each diner, suitable for each season and climate of the year.
Chinese food cuisine is considered to be oriental cuisine. Coming to the world of Chinese food cuisine is coming to traditional dishes from all parts of their country. Each region has its own culinary culture with its own unique characteristics. That’s why, not only Chinese but also foreign diners when setting foot in this country always take the time to experience regional specialties.
China is currently one of the strong players in the business world across several industries. Be it manufacturing, technology, or financial service, China is a powerhouse not to be underestimated. Because their strong success and international power do not lie solely on their industry billionaires or economic policy. The Chinese business culture is said to be one of the deciding factors that strongly influence China’s international economic power.
In a previous article about money in Chinese culture, we discussed why Chinese culture is obsessed with money. Chinese business flourishes all around the world for similar reasons. Chinese businesses tend to focus on profits and the details of why and how they can earn more of it. Above all that, remains one significant cultural practice that you can still find today, 人际关系 (ren ji guan xi).
Age Old Relationships
人际关系 (ren ji guan xi) is the business culture practice where you build and maintain relationships with clients. Getting to know clients is so important that this is the first thing they teach you from the first day you join the company. The relationship in this contact is more than just the formula contact you do during the period of transactions. This stretches to times outside of the transaction period in which companies try to stay on good terms. Good imagery for this would be maintaining the business relationship like that of family. These relationships can last years and years and are often continued by the generations after.
The question remains, how does this cultural practice affect business in China?
In one simple sentence, ren ji guan xi helps build the strength of a company and in certain cases competitive advantage. There have been controversies surrounding the practice as many businesses use it to maintain questionable relationships with government officials. Nevertheless, it is still an important part of the business culture that helps shape the economy of China. Let’s take a look at one industry example to give us an insight into how this cultural practice takes into effect.
The Apparel Industry
Take for example the apparel industry of china. China is one of the world’s largest manufacturers for fashion. Be it the fast fashion for american brands like H&M or bigger brands like Chanel. However, the industry is also high in competition. With more and more brands looking to move their production to China to cut costs, manufacturers have to fight for the cost they can offer and the quality they can make.
With so much competition, players turn to information sharing for survival. To survive in this industry, information sharing. A manufacturer or factory owner can own many skills and resources, but information sharing is believed to be the best tools they can own. Without information sharing, you will not be able to meet the right person who can become a client that can support your business. Information sharing does not come easy on a high competition market and so this is where guan xi comes into play.
Making your connections, maintaining them and utilising your ressources well with the gathered information, will give you a strong competitive advantage to survive in the industry especially if you are a new player in the industry. The key to making sure that your new business last in the long run is long-term relationship. Literally knowing the right person can give you new clients, prepare for what’s to come and build your name in the industry until you become a mature player once you’ve been long enough in the game.
The Important Values in Chinese Business
Chinese value their relationship with business partners because it is a practice that’s embedded with the Confucian teachings which shaped China’s past and present.
In China, the value of family and collective community is quite strong in both society and business. The three key pillars of Chinese society include family, community, and status.
Family and community are very important values as you can find them in several Chinese sayings, one of the most renowned being Ka Ki Lang (meaning: our own kind). This phrase is popularized in the film Crazy Rich Asian, a movie based on a book with the same name written by Kevin Kwan. Chinese businesspeople tend to do business with someone they know or are referred to by a trustworthy friend. The more familiar you are with the business owner, the more you are able to gain their trust and have more transactions with them. These relationships last over a long period of time instead of short ones. These relationships are then passed on to the younger generation where they help shape some of China’s businesses today.
The Starbucks Case
This Chinese culture surprised many foreign brands that open their offices in China including Starbucks. Starbucks is a mega coffee store franchise that originated in the United States. They then spread their business internationally and made their way to open a store in China in 1999. Starbucks in China did not hit success when they first launched until several changes later. They named shareholders and company meetings “Partner Family Forum” where partners were employees and parents were the shareholders. They created large spaces for their stores to welcome crowds of customers. Following the three pillars, Starbucks made great changes and is currently quite successful in China.
Making or Breaking the Relationship
So, how can you start and keep a relationship with a Chinese businessperson? In China, business people maintain their relationship differently than the rest of the world. These differences often went unnoticed by foreign employees. There are several things you can try to start building the relationship and not ruining any chances when you first try. However, keep in mind that these methods will take some time and effort to achieve the desired result.
Understand The Depth
Rather than just doing the normal business talk where you make an offer, negotiate the price or do cold calls, try and understand their depth. What are their values? What they look for and try to maintain that relationship for the long-term instead. Understanding your client like you would a friend is key. Similar to the practice of ren ji guan xi, it takes a long time but is very effective and great for the long-term.
Take for example the trip that president obama took in November 2009 to Shanghai, During his speech with the shanghai youth and members of the Fudan university, he expressed genuine interest in the culture and heritage of ShangHai. He also apologized that “ I’m sorry that my Chinese is not as good as your English”. This simple move of giving consideration and respect is the first step to building a great relationship. Willingness to understand the person’s culture and where they came from will help you build a solid bond that will last a long time.
Collaborate With a Local
If you want to start your business in China, it would be better if you have a local company help you out. The more familiar you “look” familiar to your potential client in China, the more they are willing to do business with you and create that relationship for the long term. Collaborating with locals also go beyond than just achieving “The Familiar” look. Local companies or manufacturers have their own set of connections that they have mastered. This conenctions will give you a great step up compared to starting all the connections from scrath.
Take for example Coca Cola. They decided that they will be collaborating with COFCO corporation back in 2016. The collaboration not only brought efficiencycy, but also created a more market oriented product for Coca Cola in China. Tailoring a product takes a lot of work. Receiving help from an insider who is more familiar with the market is more strategic and efficient than doing it yourself.
Learn the Language
You can always do it yourself, although it is not the easy way. Putting the effot, gives you off as a person that cares deeper than the transactions. Learning the language can be a great investment for you and your business. This will not only give you a great sense that you respect your partner, but your partners can also have a better sense of trust towards you as a business partner.
Family and community are very important in Chinese culture and also in business. You have to adapt to the environment and make necessary changes to succeed in this market. There are things you can do to start building a business relationship with a Chinese business person. However, keep in mind that it all takes effort and time. The effort and time you put in will definitely carve a path for you to follow.
People around the world are used to logging in to their social platforms on the daily basis. Chinese are no different. However, due to the different political systems, China has strict censorship on the internet that almost all western forms of social medial are banned. So, if you are not familiar with Chinese culture, it is not your fault since you do not have a chance to register as a user of any Chinese social media platform.
So how do the Chinese develop their social life on the internet? How would you become a part of this network?
I want to write about this topic is because many of my friends said to me that they saw me sending multimedia messages with gifs, emojis and voice notes through Chinese app, while they still send black and white text messages. Then I just directly introduced them to some Chinese media platforms that I used which are interesting, popular, and fun to play with as well as offering them a great convenient opportunity to learn Chinese.
So, this article will give a brief introduction of the top 10 popular social media platforms in China and how to make an account on one of these platforms. These networks are the most basic ones that help you to improve reading skills, make Chinese friends, understand modern Chinese culture, and enjoy a better life in China.
1: Tencent QQ | 腾讯QQ (Téngxùn QQ)
Tencent QQ was launched by Tencent in 1999, and its average daily active users reached 170 million in 2017. Its traditional functions are text, voice, video chat, and release status on QQ space. Now it includes online games, file sharing, cloud hard drives, mailboxes, forums, and other integrated services.
How to use QQ?
Step 1: Download QQ
You can download the application from the App store.
(You can directly download it from your app store without changing to the Chinese store).
Step 2: Open the QQ
When opening the QQ app, you’ll notice that it’s in Chinese and can’t be translated to English. Don’t worry, with our help, you can smoothly cross the language barrier.
The first thing you need to do is accept the service agreement by clicking on the option in the right-hand corner of the pop-up window, pictured below:
Step 3: Start the registration process
Click on the “Register” option on the home screen. It’s the option to the left in the white square!
Step 4: Enter your mobile number
At this stage, you’ll need to confirm your mobile number so that QQ can verify your account.
Enter it into the field below, choose your country code from the drop-down menu, tick the confirmation box, and click “OK”.
Top tip: If you’re finding it difficult to choose your country code because of the Chinese interface, head over to Google translate and translate your country’s name into simplified Chinese. Copy the translation, and then paste it into the country code search bar. You’ll then be left with the relevant country code to select.
Step 5: Complete the authentication process
Simply slide the puzzle piece into place using your touchscreen.
Step 6: Confirm your mobile number
In the pop-up window, click the option in the blue box to confirm your mobile number.
Step 7: Enter the verification code sent to your mobile device
Once you’ve confirmed your number, you’ll then be sent a text containing a one-time passcode. Enter this in the field below:
Step 8: Choose a username and password
Finally, create your username and password by typing them into the fields below. The username goes first, then the password in the space underneath. Then, click “Register” (the outlined box) and your QQ account will be ready to use.
How to create a QQ account in English via the QQ website
If you’d rather sign up for QQ using your computer, that’s fine, too. It’s much easier, as the desktop interface is available in English. Hooray!
Here’s what you need to do:
Go to QQ’s desktop registration page and simply sign up for QQ and enjoy your journey.
Remember: simply start the process to register a Chinese social media platform, you have already learned many new Chinese.
I have used Tencent QQ as an example, now try to register the rest 9 apps and practice the Chinese you learned above.
If you just want a list of helpful social media vocabulary, go ahead and scroll to the bottom!
2: WeChat | 微信 (Wēixìn)
WeChat was launched by Tencent in 2011. Currently, it is the social media platform with the largest number of users. Its core functions are three social applications based on acquaintances, including instant messaging, Moments of Friends, and We-Media.
With the development of mobile communications and the Internet, WeChat now has developed into an interactive platform that integrates social networking, shopping, payment, games, reading, entertainment, sports, financial management, and so on. It is the app you will use if you live in urban China.
3: Sina Weibo | 新浪微博 (Xīnlàng Wēibó)
Weibo, launched in 2009, is often called the “Chinese Twitter”. It is a platform for microblogging where users can network with friends, keep up to date with the news, connect with celebrities and influencers, and research brands and products.
Weibo users can share text, images, videos, and live streams. Messages just need to fit within the 140-character limit. It is a great app for you to understand what people are interested in China.
4: DouYin | 抖音 (Dǒuyīn)
Douyin is a platform for short videos that have had about 600 million daily active users in 2021. Douyin is a lot like TikTok, and both apps are owned and developed by the same company, ByteDance.
TikTok users will recognize Douyin’s interface. Like TikTok, Douyin is a platform for videos that are 15 or 60 seconds long. Users can create, edit, and share videos and live streams. Just spruce up your videos with some music and filters, and your video is ready for sharing with your friends.
5: Zhihu | 知乎 (zhī hū)
When you have a question, most people turn to their friends or search on Google. However, millions of people in China turn to Zhihu. “Zhihu” is a classical Chinese, which translates literally to “Do you know?” It is a comprehensive Chinese Q&A platform where questions are posted, answered, liked, and shared by its community of users.
6: Honor of Kings | 王者荣耀 (wáng zhě róng yào)
If you like playing games, and you want to know the younger culture and young people, I would like to introduce this game to you, so that you can make new friends and learn Chinese while playing games.
The honor of Kings is a multiplayer online battle arena. Since it is released in 2015, it has become the hottest MOBA game in mainland China. An international adaptation, titled Arena of Valor, was released in October 2016; it utilizes the same game engine and UI design but with greatly altered heroes to accommodate the Western market. By 2017, Honor of Kings had over 80 million daily active players and 200 million monthly active players and was among the world’s most popular and one of the highest-grossing games of all time as well as the most downloaded app globally. In the break between each game, it has created a social platform for team players to communicate with each other on topics such as game rules, roles, strategy, etc., and also become a natural gathering place for the new young generations.
7: Red | 小红书 (xiǎo hóng shū)
Xiaohongshu literally means “Little Red Book”.
This is a really interesting platform that seems to combine “Pinterest and Amazon” together.
Highly recommend checking out this really unique platform. Just so that you know, it is definitely targeted towards female users (and 88% of its user base is female).
8:Bilibili | 哔哩哔哩 (bīlībīlī)
Bilibili nicknamed B Site (B站) in China, is a Chinese video-sharing website, themed around animation, comics, and games (ACG), where users can submit, view, and add overlaid commentary on videos. Bilibili uses Adobe Flash or HTML5 player, to play user-submitted videos hosted by either itself or third-party sources, featuring a scrolling “bullet curtain” 弹幕(dàn mù) commenting system.
9: Meituan | 美团 (Mĕituán)
Meituan is a Chinese shopping platform for locally found consumer products and retail services including entertainment, dining, delivery, travel, and other services. It offers deals of the day by selling vouchers on local services and entertainment. In 2015, Meituan merged with Dazhong Dianping and changed its name to “Meituan-Dianping”. dianping.com (大众点评网 Dàzhòng diǎnpíng wǎng, literally “public reviews net”) hosts consumer reviews of restaurants, similar to Yelp and TripAdvisor, and also offers group buying similar to Groupon. Meituan then becomes one of the world’s largest online and on-demand delivery platforms. It is a platform you should not miss if you live in China.
10: Tou tiao | 今日头条 (Jīn rì tou tiáo)
Toutiao is a news distribution app that focuses on providing all kinds of information using complex algorithms. The AI will first analyze each user regarding their locations, click, and browser history. Toutiao then recommends the best-fit articles and videos to users accordingly.
Toutiao adopts a different style of giving the news to people. Additionally, they provide short videos, funny jokes, and featured articles to keep users entertained.
All the above 10 social media platforms will be beneficial for you to study Chinese no matter which level you are at.
You can practice in small chunks, writing perhaps a sentence now and then. This means that you don’t have to amass the courage needed to write a blog post or an article, which is difficult for most people. It allows you to take baby steps and still come a long way. (E.g. Posts on Sina Weibo are limited to 140 characters.)
You can see spoken Chinese in a written form. Most people use fairly colloquial language when they chat online. This is a veritable gold mine of useful phrases! On Zhi hu, read what the Chinese are talking about among themselves, and try to pick up some useful words and phrases. I can promise that even if you’re an advanced student, you will still find much you didn’t know.
You can use Chinese in a relaxed environment with more time available. If you’re using Chinese with someone you don’t feel very confident with, or if you haven’t studied for a long time, you’re likely to make lots of mistakes simply because talking has to occur at a certain pace to be interesting. If you chat online, you have time to think things through a bit more carefully. This will later help you increase fluency when you talk.
These 10 social media platforms cover almost all aspects of your daily life. You can finally learn Chinese and live like a Chinese in China.
Below are my little bonus gift for you. This table includes the most useful vocabularies to know in Chinese social media.
China is now the fastest developing nation and already the second-largest economy in the world (after the US). This growth is creating a ‘rush’ of investment from multiple countries worldwide. As the global economic stage shifts, it’s likely that the Chinese language will play a major role in shaping its future, and the importance of Chinese for business will grow.
You don’t even necessarily need to be proficient in the Chinese language. Only by showing that you’ve been making efforts in learning the Chinese language and understanding Chinese people, you will definitely build up a better company reputation in the Chinese market and achieve a deeper relationship with ideal customers. However, if you put in the time needed to acquire Chinese language proficiency, you will stand out as someone well-positioned to reap benefits that your competition simply can’t have.
Here are some of the benefits of learning Chinese that you can expect to enjoy.
1. Learn Chinese And Know Your Customers Better
Buyers’ behaviour is always a big part of designing products and services for your markets. You need to understand who is your customer and in what scenario they will likely buy your product. To help you know your customers, it will be easier if you know a bit about their languages and culture. Being able to predict Chinese buyers’ behaviour using some key Chinese linguistic phrases is your secret to let you into the Chinese mindset, motivations, cultural traits and behaviours.
Risk avoidance is an example of a cultural trait in China. It is referred to as “Feng Xian Gui Bi” (风险规避), which relates to the level of uncertainty or ambiguity a person will prefer. In China, people tend to have a higher level of risk avoidance, preferring safe options. For example, Chinese people will strongly prefer to buy products and services with a solid money-back guarantee if they are not satisfied with the product. Doing business in China, you need to take risk avoidance into consideration. Additionally, knowing some language and concepts in Chinese can help you accurately frame the perception of how your customers think, feel and behave. This helps you be prudent in evaluating your audience and positioning your product and services.
2. Learn Chinese To Effortlessly Navigate Chinese Social Media
Knowing the systems of the major Chinese social media and payment gateways helps you understand and navigate conversations around the Chinese social media business architecture.
Did you know that 71% of payments made last year in China were via mobile methods?
Chinese consumers spent US$5.5 trillion via mobile payment platforms in 2016 (China goes cashless with consumers spending $5.5 trillion via mobile payments). So you can see what is the hottest trend now in China. Just like in Western countries, social media is increasing rapidly in China.
For all the popular social media platforms you can find in the U.S., there is an exact equivalent in China, where social media platforms dominate the whole China market. Chinese consumers use Weibo (微博) instead of Twitter, Wechat (微信) instead of Facebook and WhatsApp, and numerous video platforms like Youku (优酷), iQIYI (爱奇艺), Letv (乐视), PPlive (聚力视频) instead of Youtube.
It is always challenging to study a new group of customers, but if you know their language, you can get customer insights more efficiently than your competitors. Imagine how convenient and effective it would be if you can easily handle these platforms in Chinese!
3. Learn Chinese Language And Cultivate Your Business Acumen
Business nowadays is worldwide business. Meanwhile, in China, the business culture is changing rapidly to adapt to world business. However, there is still a strong grasp on traditional paradigms, for example, the concepts of Communism, hierarchy in relationships, and ‘rules’ or traditions of business. Understanding these concepts in Chinese will not only give you respect as a business person in China but also help you acquire an authentic understanding of the way of business protocols and etiquette in Chinese business culture.
4. Learn Chinese To Acquire The Art Of Developing Successful Business Relationships
In the same way, cooperation between businesses is better understood through unique Chinese concepts that are not easily expressed in English. Believe me, your business partner will be favorably surprised if you say “wo hen gao xing lai dao zhong guo” (I’m glad to come to China) rather than simply say “ni hao” (hello). Chinese people are open, friendly and intuitive. Your business partner will feel your sincerity in cooperation when they listen to your Chinese because they can see your efforts in understanding their language and culture!
Successful business partnerships are based on mutual understanding forged through both verbal and non-verbal communication protocols. By knowing each other’s language, you will be on a more equal playing field with your prospective business partner. Learning Chinese languages will propel you forwards in your quest to develop your Chinese business acumen, achieve greater impact and lock-in more favorable outcomes in your business negotiations.
Relationship – “GUANXI” (关系)
“Guanxi” (关系) is the word in the Chinese language to describe a relationship. In addition to saying ‘hello’, there are more important and in-depth business linguistic elements and etiquettes affecting the success of your relationship.
As an example, exchanging gifts in China is an important part of business etiquette! In any business visit, both parties are likely to prepare a gift for each other. In particular, where the meeting is between a Chinese business and an international business, Chinese business delegates always like to prepare some gifts with traditional Chinese meaning. And they would also be happy to receive some special gifts from you!
There is so much more to Chinese business protocol and etiquette.
For example, do you know what is the most appropriate distance between two persons in a business meeting? Do you know that business in China is sometimes conducted during meals? Do you know the character of personal relationships in Chinese businesses? By building your capability in speaking the Chinese language alongside your savviness in Chinese business culture you will definitely put yourself ahead of your competition!
So, start learning the Chinese language in time to wow your new business partner, and develop a better “Guanxi” for your future success!
5. Learn Chinese and Build Empathy to Strengthen your business relationships
Many foreign business owners in China feel frustrated by how businesses are administered in China. For both the foreign company representatives and Chinese business partners, it is easy to find mis-communications and mis-understanding leads to a breakdown of trust in the relationship. One example of a process that can cause frustration is the heavy requirement for paperwork for many business operations.
The administrative burden of business in China can be high, as an example, “Xu Ke Zheng” (许可证) permits are frequently required. This is part of the comprehensive approach to business by the government in China, although feeling counter-intuitive at first, learning and fostering an appreciation for the way things are done will increase your trust in your Chinese business partners. For example, a foreign company running an event will be given a list of items that may and may not be included in a public address by the permit issuer. These rules should be respected as it is your Chinese event co-organisers who stake their reputation to acquire and vouch for your company permits.
You can see how your command of key aspects of Chinese languages is the secret to your success by improving your understanding of business protocols and building empathy to strengthen your relationships with your Chinese counterparts.
6. Learn Chinese and Expand Your Business Network
There are a lot of Chinese speakers in the world. According to Ethnologue, there are roughly 1.117 billion speakers of Mandarin Chinese, and of those, about 918 million are native speakers. Those stats make Mandarin Chinese the second most spoken language in the world as well as the language with the greatest number of native speakers. While most of these speakers reside in China, Chinese speakers have also formed communities around the globe. These are all potential contacts with whom you can personally do business—if only you can communicate with them.
With Chinese language skills, you will be able to navigate the vast global Chinese linguistic community to meet new business partners, clients, and customers. Learning Chinese for business can teach you how to speak Chinese with confidence in both professional and casual venues, setting both you and your business up with new networking opportunities that others can’t access.
This is not just about language but also about culture. Education in Chinese will allow you to socialize with Chinese speakers in more natural settings and establish cordial relations that can lead to future business proposals and collaborations. It will provide you with cross-cultural competencies that will impress your interlocutors and help you avoid committing a cultural faux pas that you might otherwise be unaware of. You can also demonstrate your seriousness and respect for your commerce by showing your commitment to learning how to communicate with potential business partners in their native tongue. Once you’ve established a solid rapport with a native Chinese speaker, you can benefit from their own business networks, capital, and know-how.
7. Learn Chinese And Adapt to the Global Economy
One of the biggest reasons to learn Chinese is that you will be able to do better business with Chinese firms. It’s not news that China is a major player making waves in the global economy. China’s economy is the second-largest in the world according to nominal GDP, representing about 16.34% of the entire global economy. China was also the only major economy to get through the tumultuous year of 2020 with an actual increase in GDP.
As China’s economy evolves, more opportunities continue to avail themselves to businesspeople looking to grow their businesses. Some highlights from the US-China Business Council’s 2017 report Understanding the US-China Trade Relationship include the following: China’s middle-class consumers are growing at a rapid pace and are expected to reach a population of 160 million by 2025; China has been the third-largest market for US goods and services, purchasing $165 billion of goods and services from the US in 2015; China continues to form an integral piece of the global supply chain and has allowed companies like Apple, GM, and Ford to compete at international levels; Chinese companies are investing more in the US, putting $14.8 billion in the US in 2015. It’s no wonder why working with China looks so attractive.
If you learn Chinese for business, you can apply your language skills to take advantage of China’s central place in the global economy. With your capacity to interface and network with Chinese business people, you can facilitate plugging your business into China’s lucrative industries and markets.
New business connections are invaluable, there are some other perks to knowing Chinese, especially if you’re already doing—or would like to do—business in China.
You can run your business, hold meetings, and attend conferences with Chinese speakers while minimizing the involvement of intermediaries like translators. You can also directly access knowledge and information provided by Chinese language websites, newspapers, TV programs, and books, giving yourself advantageous access to critical resources to plan your next moves. You would also be well-positioned to localize your products, services, and digital content to attract Chinese-speaking consumers and markets.
8. Learn Chinese And Get Your Edge in International Business With ChineseBusiness Giants
The Chinese language is an important tool for networking and remaining competitive in the global marketplace. For the savvy businessperson who already has some experience with Chinese under their belt, learning Chinese for business is a powerful next step.
Chinese business language can help you specialize your language skills and tailor them to your specific industry.
Focusing your studies specifically on Chinese for business will equip you with the specific cultural and linguistic vocabulary you need to speak intelligently about your business and interests with Chinese speakers. What you choose to do with this opportunity—whether in China or elsewhere around the globe—is ultimately left to you.
Learning Chinese Language and Culture Today!
At the current time and looking ahead, China has opened its giant domestic-facing market to the world and put on the table the best policies it has ever had. This means the time is ripe to kickstart your Chinese language learning and acquire new insights into Chinese markets and consumer behaviours. There is 300 million middle class now in China, and this number is predicted to grow to 500 to 600 million in the next 10 to 15 years (For those of you who are interested, check how Jack Ma, the executive chairman of Alibaba Group, explained the China opportunity at Gateway ’17). This is an indication of a huge demand for high-quality goods and services.
To impress your prospective Chinese business partners now is the time to start learning Chinese languages alongside formal business protocols and etiquette! Understand and prepare yourself and your business to enter into China and build your business on the second-largest international stage. To seize this incredible market opportunity in China and stand out among your competitors, you should indulge the perspicacity in you and really start with learning the Chinese language and developing your Chinese business acumen and awareness.
Lock in your lessons with Pandanese to start your journey in the Chinese language and business culture now, or find out more about how to succeed in learning the Chinese language and Chinese business culture with Pandanese!
Business culture is related to behaviour, ethics, etiquette, and more. A business culture will encompass the organization’s values, visions, working style, beliefs, and habits. Culture is a key component in business and has an impact on the strategic direction of the business. Culture influences management, decisions, and all business functions from accounting to production. You may now be thinking predominantly about national culture but this is only one aspect, business culture is its own unique dimension that includes getting off on the right foot, meetings, negotiation, formalities, social media use, internships and work placements, and other elements。
How Chinese Business Culture Different From Other Cultures?
Here are the top 5 business culture differences you should know before you do business with the Chinese or run a business in China.
Chinese Business Partners Don’t Like Direct Instructions
People in Chinese culture are not strict when it comes to detail. This can be potentially problematic when instructions need to be followed clearly. Western cultures embrace clear and direct instructions. It requires no memorization, little thinking, and less room for misinterpretation or mistakes.
In China, however, people often take offense to being given instructions and feel micromanaged. It is not uncommon that people will begin working on a project before they understand the details or complexities.
Pushing people to read a workflow or checklist can be difficult. They may take it as a message of unintelligence.
Give Notice When Things Change
It is quite common that a project does not start as you originally planned, since last-minute changes happened. If your Chinese vendor found out about the delay, they would be quite frustrated.
As a western-style businessman, you are used to a fast and dynamic environment. You plan ahead, try to work out the best schedule, and develop a smooth process. But no amount of preparation or experience can mitigate all obstacles. Sometimes unexpected changes arise and the game plan suddenly changes.
However, it seems like a natural part of doing business that you may cause significant stress to your non-western vendors that are not used to a fast-paced work environment. It’s a good idea to warn your Chinese partners (vendors) ahead of time if your project is dynamic or at risk of sudden change.
Lunch Isn’t 30 Minutes
Traditionally, lunch in China is almost as sophisticated as dinner. People have a big meal and it takes time. In the past, people even took naps after their lunch. Schools and businesses typically have a noon break for around 1.5 hours to 2 hours.
This is slowly changing as western lifestyle is influencing Chinese culture. In smaller cities, however, lunch breaks will still take much longer than what we’re accustomed to in North America. This should be considered when recruiting and preparing schedules. If employees are required to work with a shorter lunch break, overtime pay might need to be paid.
Beware Of Political, Legal & Economic Differences
You prepared a carnet to ensure that your computers could be shipped into China without trouble, but as it turned out, a signature was missed on one of the carnet forms when the package left the U.S.
What is the lesson here? The lesson is to ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS double-check your paperwork.
Clearing a package through Chinese customs isn’t as simple as it is in Western countries. We consulted a couple of clearance agencies that prepared documents and letters for Customs of China. Unfortunately, all the paperwork in the world couldn’t be released to our computers in time.
This really didn’t surprise me.
Since China started becoming open to Western countries relatively recently. Although it is a big and actively developing country, it still has unique political and economic systems. Don’t be surprised if what works smoothly in western countries is a bit of a bumpy road in China.
Listen To Your Chinese Business Partners
As one of our business members told us about his experience. That his company didn’t officially start recruiting until they finalized their location and had a starting date. At first, he didn’t understand why, because that’s what they did in Canada after all. Then his Chinese partner explained that there are many fraudulent job postings in China.
The most rampant ones in South China are multi-level marketing scams, which are illegal. Consequently, people are very hesitant when applying for part-time jobs. His Chinese partner mentioned that if they changed the location or time after an initial job post, people would likely suspect it as some illegal group trying to avoid the police. If they were to be flagged, it would be very difficult to clarify and convince participants that this is a legitimate job opportunity.
This is something I never would have thought about and probably not applicable in other countries.
Even though you might not understand their logic at first, be open to your Chinese partner’s advice.
When we learn about culture, food may not be the first thing that comes to mind. We probably first think of language, tradition, and religion when we hear the word culture. But food has remained an important aspect of culture that withstands the boundaries of language barriers. China is one of the few countries where they have a variety of cultural heritage in different regions. The term “Chinese Food” is sadly a generalization of the existing wonderful variety of cuisine that China has to offer.
We often think that the best-tasting food comes from expensive ingredients or 5-star rating restaurants but this can never be further from the truth. In the words of Paul Prudhomme, an American Chef, “You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food” indicates that oftentimes the cheapest food found in humble market stalls and family recipes offers the most embodiment of culture into one single plate.
The Region Matters
China is a huge country and the country is separated from the Qin mountain and the Huai River in the center planes of China. Geographers use the reference 秦岭淮河线 (Qin Lin Huai He Xian) which translates to the Qin mountain Huai River Line. This makes it very hard for the people to travel in between the region of North and South. This separation influences the cultural diversity and the development of cuisine between the North and South.
The North region loves their flour. I repeat they LOVE their flour. Originally, millet was more of the staple source of grain the people used for food. However, wheat gained mass popularity and became the staple source of food during the fall of the Tang dynasty. This preference led us to the wheat-based dishes the northern Chinese cuisine is famously known for.
1. Knife Cut Noodles – Biang Biang Noodles
Knife-cut noodles originated from the Shaanxi province in the northwest region of China. They were originally a part of a poor man’s daily meal but now have gained popularity all over the world. The noodles are made of wheat, and instead of hand-pulled they were cut with knives, thus the English name knife-cut noodles. The name Biang Biang however, is what gives it the popularity it has now. The name Biang Biang is a dialect and its written form is not recorded in any Mandarin dictionary. Not only that, the written form of Biang has a whopping 58 strokes, 42 if it’s simplified which then went viral and rose to popularity for the noodles. You can check Wikipedia for the writing form because I can’t even type the characters here. The noodles are known to be wide and long just like a belt. It is later served with hot oil, mixed with chili and spices, giving it a fragrance that makes your mouth water.
2. Dong Xiang Lamb – Gansu Province
Dong Xiang is a name of a region in the Gansu province in northern China. This region boasts to have the best lamb meat sources in China. If you ever visit the Gansu province, it is highly recommended for you to try their lamb dishes braised, stir fry, or even skewered. 8 months old mutton will be cooked delicately stir-fried as they have the softest texture of meat. The meat of up to 1-year-old lamb will be used in braised dishes and skewers as they maintain their fat and texture in higher heat better.
3. Lanzhou Beef Noodle Soup
Beef noodle soup is a staple in several regions in Northern China. The most popular, however, are the Lanzhou Beef Noodle soup. As the name suggests, the dish is best produced in the region of Lan Zhou. The dish is known for its elastic noodles, bone broth and tasty beef pieces served together. There are 5 features of an excellent Lan Zhou beef noodle soup. Those 5 features are clear soup, clean white turnips, brilliant red chili oil, green parsley, and yellow noodles. If one of these features did not exist, consider the dish, not a true Lanzhou beef noodle soup.
The Southern Region, when compared to the North, has rice as their favorite food source. The southern preference for rice is similar to the modern meme of “Asians love rice”. The spread of millet and wheat only made their way in the northern region but never really made their way to the south as the region is separated by the Qin mountain and Huai river. The lack of transportation development then made it impossible to bring millet and wheat to the south. Instead of wheat and millet, the south has its own fixation with rice. Rice has been growing in the southern region since 3000 – 4000 years ago. These centuries of rice planting heritage have made rice an important part of the Chinese culture especially in the south.
4. Rice Noodles
The first rice noodle is said to first originate in Guangzhou. Rice noodles still remain popular today. During the Qin Dynasty, an invasion from the North to the South started. The North people enjoy eating noodles made of wheat flour. However, when they invaded the south, wheat was scarce and there was only rice in the southern region because the southern people loved rice. This led to the northern people creating noodles from the rice in the south during their time of the invasion. Rice noodles still remain popular today. One of the most popular dishes of rice noodles would be the fried rice noodles. This is a Cantonese dish that signifies a Cantonese chef’s true skill. Because you would have to make all the ingredients cooked equally while still managing that the noodles do not stick to the wok or burn.
5. Char Siu
Char siu originated from the Guangdong region in the south of China. Char siu is a dish although the name was given to the method of how the dish was made. Char siu is a Cantonese dialect and the word can be literally translated to “fork roast”, in Mandarin reading it is read as cha shao (叉烧). Although there are no specifications of which meat should be used, pork loin and pork belly remain some of the more popular cuts to be used when making char siu.
Common and Popular Dishes all over China
Despite most dishes being divided based on their regions, many of these dishes gain popularity throughout the country. Here is a list of dishes that have made their way far and wide from their origin to the rest of the country and even internationally.
Dumplings are popular everywhere in China. The creation of dumplings also differs from region to region. Take for example the infamous xiao long bao (小笼包). They originated from the Jiangxi province. The skin is made out of wheat flour, with broth and pork filling inside. Xiao long refers to the name of the bamboo basket to which they are steamed, whereas the bao refers to the buns. There are several ways to make this dish depending on where you are visiting. In the south, the dough of the skin is unleavened, thus they are thin and translucent with pork and soup fillings inside of them. If you go further to the northern regions, they are made with leavened though, thicker and usually bigger, sometimes twice the size of that made in the south.
7. Dim Sum
Dim Sum is a Cantonese word where it can be translated as “to touch the heart”. Dim sum is strongly associated with “Yum Cha” or the practice of drinking tea accompanied by several small portioned snacks. This practice originated in the Guangzhou region and became popular in the 10th century when the region had an increasing number of tourists and travelers visiting the area. The Hong Kong dim sum style is now the most popular and well-known around the world thanks to their carts that circle the restaurant floors and offer guests to choose their dishes of choice from the carts. This tradition still lives on today and is an especially popular choice for family brunch.
8. Hot Pot
Hot pot originated in Mongolia 800-900 years ago. Ingredients for hot pot then only include mutton and horse meat as they are the most staple ingredients available in the region. However, as they make their way to popularity across China, each region put their own signature twist to this ancient dish. The most famous is probably the Szechuan style. Hot pot is Huo Guo in Mandarin, but the Szechuan style was so popular because Szechuan peppercorn and other chilis are put in the broth giving the broth ma and la very fitting for Huo Guo (火锅) in the sense of “fire pot” instead of hot pot.
Buns are one of the most common dishes in China but are most popular in central China. The central region of China was said to be one of the earliest regions to use steam in cooking. Thus spreading the popularity of steamed buns across the northern regions of China and later to the whole country. Buns in mandarin are called bao () and are often equalized with the bread in the west and have different recipes and serving styles depending on the region. In the north, the buns are made from the north using millet flour or wheat flour. In the south, rice flour is used instead of millet flour or wheat flour. This gives the buns created by the southern region, softer and gluten-free. The buns created from steaming are often called mantou (馒头). When the steamed buns are given filling “sweet or savory” then they are called “baozi” (包子).
However, steamed buns are not the most classic way to enjoy buns in Chinese cuisine. The most classic way to enjoy buns is to bake them and eat them with marinated meat. Baked buns with marinated meat are popular throughout China but especially in the region of Xi An. This dish where the buns are baked instead of steamed and served with meat is named Gua Bao (挂包). Gua bao is now the most classic way to enjoy buns throughout China and pop culture around the world.
10. Pork Belly
Pork belly is a staple cut of meat in Chinese cuisine. You might recognize crispy pork also known as Shao Rou (烧肉). This style of pork belly cooking used a charcoal furnace and the meat seasoned with spices, vinegar, and salt. The most popular however is the red braised pork belly of Hong Shao Rou (红烧肉). The dish has several variations like the Dong Po pork from Hangzhou. But the most famous version of the red pork belly is the Hunan version where it was dubbed to be general Mao’s favorite dish. This later gave the dish a new nickname, Mao’s style braised pork (毛氏红烧肉).
What to eat next?
China serves many variations in its cultural heritage and practice. Their food dates back centuries old and has included many traditions, practices, and history in the way they are served, ingredients, and cooking methods. Let us know which dish made it to your next list of must eat!
Each country has its own unique culture, and so is China. Let’s learn about Chinese culture together to see how their culture is different from our own!
Chinese culture is a broad concept with vast knowledge. It includes all the material and spiritual values created and preserved by the Chinese people in more than 5,000-years of their history. To fully understand Chinese culture requires intensive study. However, with internet development and the worldwide representation of Chinese culture in contemporary media, it is easier for people to have a basic understanding of this topic. Additionally, people are increasingly more curious about Chinese unique cultural facts.
China is known as the largest country and has the second-largest population in the world. In this densely populated country, there are many great people who have contributed tremendously to the country’s cultural heritage. Besides, there are also the world’s wonders and famous landscapes. We also have to mention the long-standing and rich culture of China in global world history. A culture is known as the God of Tradition. Although it has gone through many ups and downs in history, Chinese culture is still handed down to this day.
When it comes to a long-standing culture, it is certainly impossible to not mention the 12 unique quintessence of China of all times. Let’s find out these special features with Pandanese!
Peking opera has been associated with Chinese culture for 5,000 years. Peking opera is the convergence of cultural quintessence and historical wisdom. It can also be said that this is the foundation, the root of Chinese culture. Some cultural experts consider this as the source and factor of philosophical development.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Next is the success of long-standing Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is very different from Western in a way that it does not focus on science and pills. Instead, it concentrates on balance, harmony, and energy. Since ancient times, Chinese Traditional Medicine has been incorporating a range of health and healing practices, folk beliefs, literary theory and Confucian philosophy, herbal remedies, food, diet, exercise, medical specializations, and schools of thought.
Traditional Costume – Hanfu
Next is the traditional costume of the Han ethnic group – the largest ethnic group in China. Hanfu is known for its shimmering, detailed outfits, beautiful and eye-catching color combinations. All Han costumes originated from a very long time ago, from the time of Shang dynasty (1600–1000 BC).
Mainland China is the place where the earliest silk production was discovered in the world. Since then, silk in this country has continued to be well mentioned in the world. From quality to color, Chinese silk is extremely attractive and in high demand. Chinese silk products can satisfy the most demanding customers in the world. The wife of Emperor Xuanyuan was Lui To, who was credited with inventing silk in China. It was thanks to this achievement that she was given the name “Humanity female ancestor”.
Tea processing techniques
Growing, drying, and making tea processes all originated in China and have grown in popularity all over the world. The tea ceremony is the art of enjoying tea known to people with high taste and fond of Asian cultures. Tea was discovered in ancient China 7000 years ago, from the Shennong era. Since ancient times, China has developed tea leaves, which are used to make medicine, in addition to drinking tea.
Porcelain crafting technology
The homeland of porcelain is China. That’s why the name of the country in English is “China” and the word “China” itself also means porcelain. Not only that but China’s special porcelain-making techniques were also developed and spread all over the world. This success brought great contributions to Chinese culture. From this invention, China is also known as “the country of porcelain”.
Next is the art of Calligraphy which has been the famous Chinese art known through the ages. And so on, through each era calligraphy is developed more perfectly and constantly growing stronger. Calligraphy is a combination of visual art and interpretation of literary meaning. Calligraphy as a type of expression has been widely practiced in China and generally held in high esteem across East Asia. Back in the time, Calligraphy was considered as one of the four most-pursued skills and hobbies of ancient Chinese literati, along with playing stringed musical instruments.
Ancient Chinese Painting
Besides calligraphy, China is also known for the art of ancient Chinese paintings. This is a long-standing traditional art form of the Han ethnic group. The main difference is that ancient Chinese paintings are used with brushes. The brush will only be dotted with water ink to be able to draw on silk and paper products. This type of painting is known as “Chinese painting”, or people still consider it as “National Painting”. In most ancient Chinese paintings, poems are often drawn on the paintings to add extra elegance and meaning.
China is known as the cradle of martial arts. From real-life to movies, all exude the beauty and characteristics of Chinese culture. Blockbuster movies such as Ip Man and Wing Chun bring Chinese martial arts one step closer to a wide audience. Additionally, a great number of famous martial arts such as Shaolin Temple, Tai Chi Quan, Wing Chun Quan, Depending on the Rights also put Chinese Martial Arts on the cultural world map.
A study that has brought a contribution to the whole of mankind in medicine is acupuncture, A key component of traditional Chinese medicine. Acupuncture is a medical legacy of the Han people. Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles through your skin at strategic points on your body and is most commonly used to treat pain. Acupuncture is deemed as a technique for balancing the flow of energy or life force which is known as chi or qi (chee) and believed to flow through pathways (meridians) in the body, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Chopsticks and Chinese Cuisine
Chinese cuisine and dishes are extremely diverse in tastes and presentation. Especially, on holidays and festivals, the dishes are well prepared and fully presented. These dishes vary from recipes to processing methods such as fried, steamed, boiled, braised or fried. During the Lunar New Year, people often eat dumplings and whole pepper cakes (hujiao bings). Each festival will have different types of cakes showing different traditions.