Tips on Negotiating a Business Deal in Asia

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Being the world’s largest continent, the majority of the world’s population comes from Asia. Many western businessmen see Asia as a big market that is just waiting to unravel its full potential. There is so much demand in different sectors especially that this continent is rich in its natural resources. Good people are also swimming in a pool where there are no igniters to see their capabilities and get stuck in a routinary type of job and not really knowing what is there to offer. However, doing business in Asia has a little more spice than you’ve expected. It infuses a lot of cultural and linguistic challenges. Asian cultures deal their business differently from that of their Western counterparts. Negotiations made by Asian nations internationally is primarily focused on trust as compared to Westerner’s financial focus. Asian negotiations can turn sour in a heartbeat as what has happened in the rape of Nanking wherein 5 years before the siege, the economic partnership between China and Japan was at its peak.

Asian people tend to think more about the long-term plans rather than seeing the business on a return of investment standpoint. They consider a lot of factors such as the sustainability of the business, the investment of talent and overall plans in executing the business. This is how Chinese business is sustained over a lot of years. They don’t dwell on the immediate results, but it would be great if there were positive results. If none, then we have it as plan.

Since most Asian countries are not able to speak or understand the English language well there may be barriers when it comes to the negotiations. Some important points may be lost in translation when undertaking a cross-cultural negotiation. However, for us to simplify the way things are said during a negotiation, we categorized it in two ways: high context and low context. High contract cultures tend to deliver a message indirectly. You must convey information in such way that you are still affected according to context. On the other hand, low context culture aims to send you the message directly. They give you the messages bluntly on the table. They give out facts even if it is a negative one. Chinese negotiators tend to fall into a high context category. This is when cultural senses fall into place. Sometimes during negotiations, westerners have a notion that Asian’s who give unstable refusal may still have chances of changing their mind. In western culture, that is, it is only when you say no directly wherein it is definite. This is how you are lost in translation you may be conversing in the same language but the interpretation may be different.

There are many decision-making processes. During the negotiation, participants may not all be decision makers, they might just be decision influencers. Unlike how westerners do it, the decision makers are always on the negotiating table and is mainly involved in the process. Organizations in Asia are built in such way that there is somewhat liaison officer that gather all the information and lays it down on a separate internal meeting before decisions are announced externally. There are three types of decision making process namely top-down, consensus and delegated. For you to succeed in a negotiation, it would be best to analyze the group you are negotiating with so you could tackle the speculations the best way possible.

Once decisions have been made agreement are to be drafted in a contract form. The states the benefits the one is to get from each other. It writes down the obligation and responsibilities of each owner to achieve the objective of the contract. There is no one format of a contract. However, the Chinese people tend to sign off agreements without expounding on important points. This is where problems occur. Based on a study, it shows that Chinese people relatively do not honor the rule of the law. They have the least commitment when it comes to identifying that a contract is a form of solid commitment to another party.