The nations of the world are at a rising competition with one another presently. Each country has evolved on the globe in its own unique manner, and every nation has gained its current status with the efforts put in by the people residing in it. With distinct cultural and traditional values, people have risen in the Modern Age in their own exclusive ways, giving in whatever they can, to excel in the global competition, in every field.
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Culture and tradition prevail in every nation and holds their own significance in the smooth running of the systems. From the time of inception, each setting faces ups and downs, which offers an experience to the leaders, of ways to improve their governance, so that the common man may benefit from them. One such nation is China, which in the past had a stronghold over the world in the fields of arts and sciences, but declined in the 19th and 20th centuries. The downfall emerged due to civil unrest, military attacks, resulting in famines, and foreign occupation.
China is situated in Eastern Asia, bordering the East China Sea, Korea Bay, South China Sea, and the Yellow Sea. It is located between Vietnam and North Korea. It is a big country, only slightly smaller in size than the USA, and borders Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, and Mongolia, to name a few of her neighbors. Its regional borders include Hong Kong and Macau.
China’s climate is extremely diverse, tropical in the south to subarctic in the north. The terrain is mostly mountains, high plateaus, with deserts in the West, plains, deltas, and hills in the East. China also has Mount Everest in its territory, which is an honor for the nation.
China has been under dynastic succession since time immemorial. The first recognized dynasty was the Xia Dynasty, which lasted from 2200 to 1750 B.C. This was the first dynasty that was civilized to a great extent, and which further led to the Shang Dynasty which lasted from 1750 to 1040 B.C. The Shang rulers brought about urbanized civilization in the region, and also fought wars against the neighboring settlements. The Shang kings experienced sophisticated court lives.
The Shang Dynasty was followed by the Zhou Dynasty, during which all the intellectual schools of thought took place. These included Confucianism, Legalism, Daoism, and Mohism. The development of philosophy, art, social and political organization, and civilization all took place during this period, and have ever since been growing.
The country is headed by the President, who is the head of state and is accompanied by the vice president. All the state affairs are handled by the elected president, who, according to the constitution, stays for a span of five years. The State Council leads the government, headed by a premier, four vice premiers, and five state councilors. The provinces are led by governors; there are some autonomous regions that comprise ethnic groups, and the municipalities are controlled by the central government.
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China’s economy was closed to international trade till up to thirty years ago and was under a centrally planned system. Now, however, it is playing a big role in the global economy, after many reformations since the 1970s. Some of the factors which led to the up-boosting of the economic system include collectivized agriculture, a gradual liberalization of prices, fiscal decentralization, diversified banking system, development of the stock market, and provision of opening to foreign trade and investment. This aspect is beneficial for the setting up of new businesses, as the doors to foreign trade are open, and investors from all over the world are venturing into new setups in China.
China is currently a good country to invest in, because foreign investment is on the rise, and profits can easily be attained because China stood as the second-largest economy in the world, after the USA, in 2008. China has started free trade and has gained economic strength especially due to the backing given by the USA in the year 2000, which led to China’s approach to the World Trade Organization. The government has currently set goals to quadruple the gross domestic product (GDP) by the year 2020 and more than double the per capita GDP. The industry is increasing due to technological advancements and a high rate of productivity.
Chinese is the official language of China, along with Mandarin, which is based on the Beijing dialect. Other dialects include Cantonese, Shanghaiese, Fuzhou, Taiwanese, Xiang, Gan, and Hakka.
Traditions, Values, and Ethics
There are three religions practiced by the people of China, namely, Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism. Confucianism is more of a theory that has been given the value of a religion by the people of China, who have been following its principles since the fifth century B.C.
The people give immense value to their ancestors and follow their footsteps religiously. This is also termed ancestor worship at times, due to the ritualized admiration the people have for their ancestors. The other religions like Christianity and Islam comprise 4% and 2% of the population respectively.
There are many temples and monasteries present in the country, which have become a tourist attraction now and have been maintained as cultural landmarks. The state has allowed its people the freedom of practicing the religion of their choice, and to carry out normal regular religious activities, as long as nobody is harmed or negatively affected.
China has been recorded as one of the most popular nations of the world for many centuries. Despite the advancements people have been going through, they have not forgotten their traditions and values and have adapted lifestyles that depict modern living, and are yet influenced by ancestral living.
The people are basically simple, but with time, are becoming more business-minded, due to pressure from the government, to use resources skillfully, and gain maximum benefits out of the talent the general populace possesses. Men and women, both work shoulder to shoulder, to earn a living.
The population of China is very high, and the government devised a program to control the growing population by restricting the number of children per family to only two, instead of unlimited family members. The old aged parents normally live with their son’s families, but the trend of old age homes is also present in some places. The lifestyles of the majority of the people are very basic, following simplicity, and just busy with their own lives. The educational system is rising, and people from foreign countries are also going to China to gain various degrees and qualifications.
The state has always been responsible to cater to the needs of every individual residing in the country. According to constitutional laws, the state has to develop social security programs, which would correspond with economic development. This caused a great reduction in the poor people residing in the country, with the provision of unemployment insurance, medical insurance, maternity benefits, pensions, and other such facilitation necessary for basic survival.
Characteristics of the Culture
Communal life has been declared a failure in China probably due to the presence of family systems. Modern politicians are constantly attempting to bring changes to society but people are somewhat conserved in their own ways. The majority of the population has been dependent on agriculture and farming, which has become the basis of the economic reforms in China. The conservatory behavior may be a result of this mode of living, in which the men and women go out farming, and live their lives in a relaxed way as compared to the hustle and bustle of contemporary city living.
The Chinese people are patient, maybe because of their immense attachment to the earth and to what God has gifted as natural resources. Agriculture has undoubtedly been a significant part of Chinese life, also because the Chinese language has many characters that were names of agricultural products. Chinese people have a naturalistic view of life, with agricultural living deep-rooted in their lifestyles, causing attachment to nature. Even with the increase in modernization, people are attached to their traditional systems of simplicity internally. The Chinese mostly believe that they should let things be as they are, and accept everything as it comes to them by course of nature.
The simplicity that the Chinese people possess makes them content with what they have naturally, and are not attracted to material living, especially because of the philosophies of life they follow. Many Chinese philosophers brought up new theories of life, which people religiously follow, an example being Taoism.
Chinese people have been considered to be artistic by nature; this is not a recent notion but came about many years ago when an American scholar declared that the Chinese way of looking at life is through art. The agriculturism and artistic way of life show the conservatism present in the Chinese populace. Apart from that, humanism has been characterized as the essence of Chinese culture. The worshipping of another person is one aspect of humanism in Chinese culture. They also have beliefs in the existence of supernatural beings in the world.
The family is the fundamental social unit for the Chinese. All the successes, failures, pride, shame, or any other emotions that are felt by a single individual of the family, are in turn felt by the entire family because they consider family bonds very vital for the living experience. One person’s pain is felt by all those acquainted with him. There is no concept of individualism in the Chinese culture, if one member of the family gains something, it would be shared by all. Similarly, if an individual suffers from a financial crisis, he would turn to his family members for financial aid, instead of government agencies. This gives rise to mutual dependence that is present in all families.
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The Chinese have always given immense value to education and would respect an educated but low-income individual more than a high-income person who is uneducated. This shows the value that the people give to educated individuals and the amount of respect they hold for their fellow men. Respecting others, especially parents, leaders, and teachers, is an important part of Chinese culture.
Business Practices in China
Business practices in China are very sophisticated. Work ethics are deemed high, and etiquettes at the workplaces are of utmost standards too. People have their own set rules for work etiquette, they hold high regard for their counterparts, but only when they follow the proper behavior patterns, appearance at the workplace, and undergo effective communication.
For effective communication to take place, it is necessary for every member of the institution to firstly greet one another, with either a bow or a nod of the head, or a handshake. Punctuality, which includes being readily available for a meeting on time, is a must for the Chinese. For any business dealings, an appointment is necessary, and it would be considered rude if you are late for a meeting that has been scheduled beforehand.
These basic work ethics hold significance for the Chinese and it is not only the actual business dealing or work progress that matters in a running system. Firstly basic etiquettes are to be exercised, in order to achieve success in the corporate world. The reason behind this is that the Chinese people respect one another, and expect the same in all environments. They are not indifferent to one another and are not used to misbehavior or attitudes, rather, they treat each other well with their words and gestures, and that is how they are brought up.
Tips for leading a business in China
Many companies are expecting success after opening up new businesses in China, mainly because of its growing economy and vast business infrastructure. There are new opportunities being offered to people from all over the globe, and despite the large population of the country, new ventures are warmly welcomed today.
The first step before setting up a business in China would be to study the existing practices in the markets, especially the ones followed by the topmost corporates. After enlisting the most successful names, their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats could be analyzed. This analysis could aid in the setting of a personal venture, in which one would try to refrain from the activities which caused other enterprises harm, and would adopt those practices which benefited them. However, it is essential to keep in mind the fact that no matter which country a business is to be set up in, there are great losses in the beginning, and positive progress takes place only gradually, and not at the spur of the moment.
Keeping in mind the conservative nature and intensely business-minded people, certain strategies to study the business culture in China should be made beforehand. The people are hospitable; this may be a positive aspect of setting up a business. Those businesses that are flourishing need to be approached and the competitors should also be viewed, for establishing a name in the market. If the basic trade rules that the Chinese have set up are followed, like giving preference to ethics at first, and maintaining good business etiquette, then it would be easier to develop a good reputation in the trade market.
Establishing a business in China does not seem to be a difficult task, as long as the simple rules of these simple people are followed thoroughly. China is basically a simple and downtrodden agricultural nation, for whom everyone is forever welcome.
The World Fact Book – China (2009). Web.