Culture Shock Is No Shock


Ten Years on

Ten years after moving to this wonderful, crazy, frenetic, confusing, engaging place that’s called the People’s Republic of China, I consider that I have learned a few things that I’d like to share:

Yes, there are cultural differences, but there are far more similarities…however…

… Chinese culture is ancient, really ancient. Do you really think you can reverse how people intuitively think and do business? Remember my earlier Chinaman in London story.

I think the key point is listening and communication. Don’t obsess over getting “your own way,”  obsess with being seen as someone who will listen (by the way, I still remind myself of this daily, and I am no expert).

Following on from the last point, DO NOT turn your internal company relationships into “us & them” situations where it’s your local staff vs. the head-office. This is fatal. We’re all people working for the same company, with the same goals. We will have the same basic needs.

The more interested you are in China, the more interested you’ll become.

Learn more Chinese. Just being able to order beer is not enough.

There you go. I hope this is useful to you. Good luck.


ROBERT PARKINSON is CEO & founder of RMG Selection, an international recruitment organization whose Asia-Pacific region offices are located in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore.


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