If you are interested, fill out a form on this website and our CEO will contact you. You can also add him on Linkedin and reach out directly.
The best way to find investment opportunities in China is to reach out to your countries embassy in Beijing. If you are British, you can contact the British embassy, and see if they have a business arm.
You can also contact your Chamber of Commerce, which might be in Shanghai. For example, there is a Canada/China Chamber in Shanghai. You can ask them about companies that they know of doing business in the local market.
What Should You Think About When Investing In China?
Make sure the Chinese companies you speak to are properly registered in China. You do not want to invest in a company that doesn’t exist.
The corporation should provide you with their registration, incorporation documents, and trademarks. If they do not have these documents, big red flag.
The documents will likely be in Chinese. You should hire a law firm to review the documents and make sure they are real. You must be able to understand them. You can speak to one of our business lawyers in China (if you are investing in another company.)
If the company is a great company, but not organized with their documents, you can refer them to us. Our business attorneys can help them with their trademarks, incorporation, and shareholder agreements.
Investors must consider the fastest growing market in the world. You cannot ignore China.
Investing In Chinese Companies For Beginners
Make it clear you are not going to make an investment until they get everything set up properly. If they don’t have trademarks, someone will just steal the name.
You need to make yourself aware of investment opportunities. You need to understand the accounting. You need to know the laws, the people, and customs.
It’s normally not as easy as making an investment in your home country. It’s more work when investing in foreign countries.
You also need to understand the tax rates and do your research.
China has seen growth over the past few decades that no other country has ever had. Things go fast. Something can grow or die overnight. The same thing is true of corporations.
Investing In Chinese Companies
If you are wanting to invest in Chinese stocks that are publicly traded, this section is for you. If you don’t invest, are you missing out?
Alibaba and Tencent might be good businesses to invest in. You should speak to an investment advisor about this.
Alibaba is a company that has done well over time. It is expected to continue growing.
Tencent is one of the biggest companies in China. It is involved with gaming and social media. The trade war has hurt the Tencent stock. However, it is likely the stock will do very well over time.
Revenue continues to go up over time with both companies. If there is a new trade deal between China and the United States, Tencent and Alibaba’s stocks will likely go up.
In conclusion, hire a business lawyer in China before making an investment in Chinese companies.
Are you looking into communicating efficiently with Chinese consumers? Are you worried that Chinese consumers are price sensitive? Read this summary of the Canada China Business Council event.
If you need a lawyer in China, contact us. We will have one of our lawyers contact you. They can help with business law and employment law.
We attended an event organized by the Canada China Business Council. The first speakers were Xin Huang, a partner at Hong Kong McKinsey. Caleb Balloch and Johnny Ho also spoke from Shanghai McKinsey. McKinsey is a consulting and analytics company in China.
Will The Chinese Market Recover Soon?
Xin Huang said that overall the country is maintaining low COVID-19 rates. The whole economy will likely recover soon. This means that there will be a return to consumer spending. It is important for companies to monitor consumer spending.
There has already been an increase in consumer spending in China of 10%. However, many Chinese consumers have changed their brand loyalty (86%) during COVID-19. It was not explained why this was.
About 80% of Chinese people have returned to their daily lives. In some industries, things have returned to pre-COVID levels in most of the companies product categories.
Consumers will only buy your products if they know about them. In large markets, market visibility is key. How is the right way to communicate with Chinese consumers? You should speak to marketing companies in your target market. Or, you can hire a business consulting firm like Shanghai McKinsey.
In China, if you don’t do business online, you miss out on a lot of revenue. Our attorneys can help you in doing business in China. Getting proper legal advice is key.
Chinese Consumers Price Sensitive
China is big, but the consumers are price sensitive. Getting the right pricing structure is extremely important. Working with a business consultant can help you with that. If your competitor out prices you, you are in big trouble.
The Chinese retail industry is now larger than the USA and is still growing. It’s slowed down a lot but it is still growing faster than most countries.
The cost of doing business online is getting higher and higher. The costs of consumer acquisition and retention costs have greatly increased. Many small companies are not able to afford to advertise online, leaving major opportunities for larger companies.
How do we communicate with Chinese consumers? 70% of the Chinese consumers that spend time online are not reading website blogs. They spend most of their time on social media. This is a key way to reach Chinese consumers.
Chinese Consumers Behavior
Social media is a very effective way to find customers. But it will depend on your industry. For example, using social media as a law firm is not a good way to get clients.
People like to research their attorney and read legal blogs before reaching out to a law firm. How to attract their attention is key.
In China, a lot of people (70%) are doing cross-selling. They either look offline and then buy online, or they look online and buy offline. Very few people find something online and buy online. The numbers of people researching offline and buying offline are decreasing.
A lot of Chinese consumers like to do research on something in a store, and then buy online. This is why there are a lot of “experience stores” in China.
China Consumers Spending | Chinese Consumers Price Sensitive
Live streaming is quite unique to China. It sounds cool, but it’s just a younger more digital way of TV infomercials.
Live streaming is when an internet celebrity goes on Taobao (e-commerce) and they present over ten products. They try things on and answer questions from their fans.
People will ask the internet celebrities questions and the (KOLs) will answer some of the questions. It’s really easy to buy the products during live steaming. There is normally a button at the bottom of the live stream.
In conclusion, reach out to us if you are starting a business in China, or if you already have a business and need a lawyer. We can also refer you to business consultants that can help you reach Chinese people. Law firms can help you do things like registering your trademarks in China and create employment contracts.
Are you looking for lawyer jobs in China? Read about our company. If you are a lawyer that wants to sign up with our platform in China, fill out the form on this page (or on the website.) We get a lot of lawyers from Singapore, India, and English speaking countries apply.
We also have people searching for “lawyer jobs in China for Pakistani.”
Chinese Lawyers Need To Communicate With Their Clients
Firstly, communication with clients is the most important thing. Lawyers MUST get back to clients within 2 business days at a minimum. Most lawyers struggle with this.
If you won’t be able to do it, please don’t sign up on our lawyer platform.
We just started a large radio campaign (spending around $20K/month) and we need great lawyers to provide services to those that need legal help.
Lawyer on our website should have done motions, trials, discoveries, court appearances, etc. They should be able to handle a file from the start to the end. Further, have more control over your life with flexible working hours and the ability to work from home/your office.
Thriving English Speaking Lawyer Organization In China
Member in good standing with the legal industry regulator in China
Excellent interpersonal, oral and written communications skills
Integrity and professionalism
Lawyer Jobs In China
Avoid harassment from a managing partner
Local decision making
Transparency and honesty
Positivity and supporting each other in our growth
What we need from you | Family Lawyer Jobs
You would appear on our website
You would do a great job managing clients, communication is the most important
Updating client trust ledgers
Further, you would do the recording and summarizing time entries
What we would do for foreigner lawyers
Tasks related to advertising (and covering the costs)
Lower risk of failure for our lawyers than starting their own practice
Lawyers can work from home
You get to focus on being a lawyer, and we focus on being businesspeople.
Lawyer Jobs For Indians
As a lawyer in China, it doesn’t matter if you bill flat rate, on contingency, or hourly, you need to be productive to increase your hourly rate. Some law firms charge premium rates, which basically means they can bill whatever they feel like.
Many law firms see clients as cash cows, waiting to be milked.
As a lawyer, if you charge $335 an hour, but only collect 71%, you are only earning $176/hour.
Our lawyers and attorneys in China mostly do family law and lawsuits.
Lawyer Jobs In China For English Speakers
We let people make the best decisions in a situation where there is no pressure. It’s 100% free to locate and connect with licensed lawyers – no hidden fees. Your confidentiality is always covered. You determine when to reveal your personal details to interested lawyers.
All participant lawyers were pre-screened and in excellent standing with their Law Society associations. Study lawyer’s profiles before making a decision.
Learn precisely the costs in detail before hiring a lawyer. Obtain access to professionals in every field of law. No spontaneous match or choosing. There will never be a requirement to recruit or consult a counsel via our system. You determine whether and when to call a lawyer you are interested in.
In conclusion, doing admin, marketing, trying to get new clients, should be left to non-lawyers. ClearWay Law is great at generating leads and connecting clients to the best lawyer. How do we do this? We treat clients with respect and get back to them fast. Lawyers waste a lot of time asking for referrals and networking. Finally, leave it to non-lawyers to do.
Alistair Vigier (韦理德) is the CEO of Clearway Law, both in Canada and China. He is both Canadian and British. In Canada, he helps many people connect with the correct lawyer for legal issues. These legal issues often involve divorce and lawsuits.
Alistair Vigier spends most of his time between Vancouver and Toronto. When he can, he travels to Beijing and Shanghai. His favourite city in China to visit is the city of Chengdu. Most people think this is because of the spicy food. This is not true. It’s also not because of the pandas. It’s because of the New Century Global Center! In particular, Alistair likes the spa part of the Chengdu Intercontinental hotel.
You can see an article Alistair Vigier wrote on Chinese culture below.
What Alistair Vigier Learned About Chinese Culture
I’ve been involved with the Chinese community in Canada for over eight years. When I first got involved, all I knew was that the Chinese loved Chow Mein, Wonton Soup, and sweet and sour beef.
Little did I know that these foods in Canada were targeting white people. That explains why at restaurants like “Mr Wong’s” I never saw any Chinese.
Years later, I realized Chinese people were at places like seafood restaurants in Richmond, or traditional hot place restaurants serving things that were odd to me. This included eating blood, brains, and stinky tofu.
I had much to learn about Chinese culture.
Besides food, I really didn’t know anything about China itself.
The Chinese Love To Eat
I didn’t realize how little Canadians and Americans care about food until I made Chinese friends and business partners.
If eating food and late-night drinking was a sport at the Olympics, then China would win the gold medal every time.
The first thing that would be discussed in the morning was where we would meet to eat lunch. And during lunch, we would discuss where to meet after work for dinner and lunches.
On some days, I would get invited to two lunches on one day. I would have to bring casual clothes if I was meeting friends, and business clothes if I got invited to a business lunch or dinner.
I was quite surprised that Chinese businesspeople could drink bottles of wine at lunch, and then go back to work and be productive.
After drinking wine, I need to sleep. I have always preferred coffee and tea to wine.
Photo: Food Alistair was given in Beijing
Alistair Vigier’s Visit To China
After being in the Chinese community for so long, and constantly being told I need to visit China, I decided to go.
When I arrived in China, it was definitely one of the most exotic places I had ever been to. The smells were different, many people did not speak English, and the foods were certainly not wonton soup.
On my first day in China, I was treated to Peking duck. I didn’t understand why it wasn’t called Beijing Duck, but it was delicious! I felt that if more westerns knew about Peking duck, they would love it!
My Chinese friends were surprised that I loved Malatang so much. Apparently, Malatang translates into “spicy hot pot.”
However, Malatang is not hot pot. The point of hot pot is to sit around with your friends, and everything goes into a pot, that is hot.
Malatang is more of a “Subway sandwich” type of deal. You go to the wall, and you pick whatever you want. Then they prepare it for you.
You do not share with others. If you don’t want pig blood in your food, you don’t have to grab it. As for me, I loved the purple yam balls. I had never seen that before in Canada.
Photo: Alistair Vigier in Shanghai, China
Alistair Vigier Is Pushing For Co-operation Between The Two Countries
One thing I found is how much I like the Chinese. It’s funny, I never met a single mean or racist Chinese person.
Nationalism is a common term that gets talked about with China in the western media. That led me to believe that a lot of Chinese people hate foreigners.
I am sure some do. There are always angry people that spend all their time reading news on the internet. However, I never personally experienced it. Instead, in some remote cities (not Shanghai) locals asked to take pictures with me.
If the Chinese love coming to Canada, and if Canadians love going to China (mostly Shanghai), then there is no reason why the two countries shouldn’t get along.
Women I have dated, friends I have made, and business partners in the Chinese community have shared a lot of interesting thoughts on Chinese and western cultures.
This article explained my learning about Chinese culture. In a future article, I will cover what I heard Chinese people learned from Canada culture when they moved here.
I hope to make this article part of a multi-article series that will talk about Canada and Chinese culture and co-operation.
Alistair Vigier (韦理德) is the CEO of ClearWay Law, a company that connects people that need a lawyer with a law firm in Canada and Beijing.
Are you wondering is it legal to record a conversation in China? In Chinese law shows, recording secretly plays an important part in the legal process.
In general, during litigation, you can assume you are being recorded. You can use this to your advantage. If it was legal, you could also record yourself.
Any emails, Wechat messages, or other types of conversation might be used in the courtroom.
So is secret recording allowed in China? The short answer is… it depends.
Recording phone calls in China
In the past, recording someone without their consent was illegal. This has changed over time. The Chinese courts will allow audio recordings under Article 63 of the Civil Procedure Law.
Over the past ten years, the Chinese courts have encouraged parties to try and gather evidence for their disputes and lawsuits.
Basically, the court says you can record a conversation with the other person. However, you cannot record people not part of the lawsuit. Further, you need to make sure you don’t get into trouble with the police.
You can see a few of our lawyers in China below. These are not all of them.
Are Secret Recordings Legal In China?
You also must make sure not to violate the general morals of society. This of course can be confusing. This is why you should speak to one of our attorneys in China. They can provide you with legal advice.
You don’t want to go to jail over a lawsuit or divorce.
The law firm can help you gather evidence without violating criminal laws in China. Just fill out the form on the side of this page. A lawyer in China will contact you.
In China, the line between legal and illegal when it comes to recording is very thin. Make sure you do not cross it.
There are other criteria that the courts, and police, will want to check. You should have been there when the recording was made. Bugging someone’s house or car and leaving is not allowed.
Record A Conversation In China
The recording should be made in a public place, where other recordings (like video) is often made. People do not assume to have privacy in such places.
If everyone agreed not to record, then it’s illegal to do so. If it’s a family law dispute, you cannot have the child record the other spouse.
Hacking is illegal in China. You cannot gather evidence via hacking your spouse’s phone or computer.
Below is a summary of this article:
You can sometimes record a conversation
Recording phone calls is normally okay
Evidence via secretly recorded audio is sometimes admissible
Not all parties need to consent to record
Speak to a law firm in China
In conclusion, speak to one of our lawyers in China to get legal advice. You need help putting together the evidence to win your case.
Are you looking for Beijing attorneys? Maybe you are a United States company that is expanding to China?
A lot of American companies are thinking about pursuing their China expansion now that Joe Biden is going to be president.
It was no secret that Trump and Xi did not get along. Many American and Chinese companies put their cross border expansions on hold.
Our Beijing attorneys can assist you with mergers and acquisitions, trademark, copyright, private equity deals, and protecting intellectual property. They can also assist with employment agreements, taxes, and incorporating.
You can see some of the attorneys in Beijing below. If you want to book a free consultation, fill out the form on this page. Our Beijing law team will get in touch with you, normally by email.
Beijing Law Firm practice areas
In addition to the business law services above, our attorneys also help with private matters. These include criminal law, divorce, and inheritance disputes.
They can also help with investment disputes and real estate litigation. Many people invest in projects in China. Do not assume that you cannot access justice in China.
Our attorneys in China have the ability to fight for your rights. Without a law firm, it would probably be impossible. However, with a strong legal team, much is possible.
Divorce In Beijing
Divorce rates have gone up a lot in China. Also, international divorce has become common. This is because Chinese people are moving to places like Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.
Of course, they meet locals and can fall in love and get married. At some point, the Chinese person might move back to China.
So now the couple might have a property in Beijing and New Zealand. Now attorneys must get involved in both New Zealand and Beijing. It gets very complicated.
Attorney client relationship In China
Judges are very serious in China. They take civil disputes and contract disputes very seriously. You need an attorney that is comfortable going to court. Some attorneys find going to court exciting.
Right now it’s hard to start a business in China. That’s why it’s important to get help. You can’t set up a business online. You always need to have permission from the government.
It can take a long time to get all the licences and approvals. The courts are not open to the public. You can go to the building, but you can’t go in and ask questions.
Online Platforms For Law In China
There is a new online platform that allows law firms in China to save time. It helps them file paperwork online. They can register cases and book hearing times online.
Before the platform existed, many lawyers in China had to spend 30% of their time waiting in line at the court. They would have to wait to be allowed to submit paperwork.
The attorneys would also need to wait around to get a hearing time booked. The online platform was organized by the Shanghai courts. The platform can also be used to communicate with the judge.
Cao Zhuping, an attorney for SH Er Li Law Firm said that it’s much easier now to register a case without going to the court. This saves a lot of time on transportation and waiting in line.
Cao Zhuping uses the court’s platform to submit his evidence and written arguments.
Contact us using the form if you want to speak to a Chinese lawyer.
List Of Law Firms In Beijing
If for whatever reason, you don’t want to work with one of our lawyers, we can refer you to other law firms in Beijing. Below are a few others:
Heidi Tang, Roger Epstein and Sara Zhang are attorneys in China. They said that China is developing very quickly. The GDP continues to grow. A lot of people in China want to do business with other countries.
When they want to do that, they need a good lawyer in China and the other country. Our company, ClearWay Law, has lawyers in multiple countries. This helps people deal with their international legal needs.
There is a lot of need for international law firms. China has started to open itself to the world.
Our company gets a lot of requests from people that need a Beijing divorce attorney. The attorneys can assist with getting a separation agreement (or divorce contact) signed.
Once the separation agreement is signed, you can file for divorce. If you have properties in other countries, like Australia or New Zealand, it’s going to be more complicated.
Beijing law firms can also assist with child custody, child support, spousal support, and other family law issues.
Do not get your friends or family to mediate your divorce. You need professional legal advice. Some people spend two-ten years on their separations.
Spending a lot of time in court can feel like going to prison. We have legal assistants, paralegals, and lawyers that can speak English and Mandarin.
Beijing Attorneys | Drug Charges In Beijing
We also get a lot of requests for help with drug charges in Beijing. If you need a criminal law attorney in Beijing, fill out the form on the side of this page.
Often, people from countries bring cannabis products with them on the plane. It might be something like a CBD cream. They do this even though many airports say not to bring cannabis products on planes.
When they arrive in China or Beijing, they get in trouble with the police. The Chinese police say they have imported drugs into China. That is very serious.
They get questioned by the police for a few days and then contact us. Take this very seriously. Any cannabis products are very illegal in China.
You must follow the laws of the country you are in. The laws of Canada won’t help you in China. You also cannot say that you didn’t know the laws of China.
You also must speak to police in China. You don’t have the right to remain silent. However, ask to speak to an attorney.
Beijing Legal Advice
We have attorneys that help with international transactions and M&A. Many foreign companies now want to invest in China. The attorneys can help you set up a company in China, and assist with regulatory compliance.
There are also Chinese companies that want to invest outside of China. Law firms in Beijing can help with that.
Sara Zhang, the attorney in China, wants to help Chinese people invest in the United States. She knows the history of the USA, and she enjoys international business and law.
There are a lot of Chinese people moving to other countries, like Australia. They also need to think about estate planning, immigration, and setting up a business.
A lot of Chinese people do not do much planning when it comes to estates. They do not have any inheritance tax. They are busy making money and rarely planning.
Some lawyers charge $300/hour, and others charge $600/hour. You need to decide your budget. Do you want a junior lawyer or a senior attorney?
Beijing Attorneys Helping international clients
There are over 17,000 lawyers in Shanghai and another 20,000 attorneys in Beijing. Any small improvements to the Chinese courts will result in big improvements for society.
In the future, attorneys in China will only attend the courts when they are arguing their client’s case. It’s also now possible for law firms to change their hearing times. They only need to explain their reasons for not being able to attend.
Cao Hongxing of the SH High People’s Court said that many attorneys have scheduling conflicts. The judge will help the attorneys with their time conflicts.
Law firms can also use the system to research a person’s or companies previous litigation history. The system is encrypted. People without authorization have a hard time getting in. Only attorneys registered can use the system.
We are hoping this system comes to Beijing very soon. They are also planning to open their system to English speaking law firms.
Beijing Attorneys Helping Chinese and International People And Companies
Our attorneys in Beijing can help with a number of different legal issues.
Are you looking at the requirements to be a lawyer in China? We are a website where people that need a lawyer can find one.
Lawyers are not a big group in Chinese society. For those that know lawyers, they find lawyers are educated and can be counted on. Some people hate lawyers. However, this is normally because of a single lawyer, not because of all lawyers. There are some good lawyers and some bad lawyers.
In the ’80s in China, the legal industry changed in China. First, there were attorneys that only dealt with criminal law. After that, there were some lawyers that did divorce law.
When China opened its market, people and companies had complex trade needs. The economy required lawyers to help solve their complicated problems. At the end of the ’80s, there were for-profit law firms setting up.
If you would rather just invest in the legal industry in China, have a look: ClearWay Law China
Requirements to practice law in China
In China, law school is a bachelor’s degree. You first need to get into law school, and you get your bachelor degree and pass the bar association. And then you do a one-year internship. Therefore, you can become a lawyer much faster in China than in countries like Canada and China where you need to have a bachelor degree before becoming a lawyer. In China, you can become a lawyer in five years. In the United States, it will take you eight years.
Once you pass the bar exam, you will need to decide if you want to join a large law firm or not. If you do decide that, you will also have to be hired. Other lawyers prefer to start their own law firm. Some prefer to work for a senior lawyer as their assistant.
Working in China as a lawyer
It’s probably best to work for a large law firm for a while so that you can learn a lot. Judges also often come from partners at large law firms. Therefore, you can learn the law from someone who is about to become a judge in China.
Some lawyers might start working at a large law firm in Beijing. It’s great if you have friends that work at the large law firms. They don’t have to take you. It depends on your exam results and how well you did in law school.
After your one year of internship, you can get licenced as a lawyer in China. You will then be an associate lawyer. You will assist a senior lawyer. You might want to work for a few years as an assistant lawyer so that you can learn more. Eventually, you can take on your own clients and stop only working on the senior lawyer’s files.
Law firms in China
You can also go back to school and get a masters degree in law. You will need to decide if you want to be a litigation lawyer, or do solicitor work.
In China, it’s mostly men that are lawyers. However, things are changing and more women are becoming lawyers. Most partners are still lawyers.
To become a partner in China, it really depends on how good you are at generating revenue. If you can reach the partner level of revenue, then they will have a partner meeting. They will vote to see if you should be a partner or not. The decision is about money and if you fit in with the culture.
Requirements to be a lawyer
If you are interested in what the requirements to be a lawyer in China are, we hope you enjoyed this article. We help lawyers find more clients. Once you become a lawyer, you should consider signing up with our website.
Below are some terms people look for when looking into becoming a lawyer in China.
Are you planning to do business and in China and you want to learn about the Hainan Free Trade Port? First of all, where is Hainan? It’s in the south of China on an island. It’s known as the Hawaii of China. It’s located near Vietnam. It is a popular tourist spot for Chinese people. This year, the Chinese government announced it’s plan to make Hainan a massive free trade zone.
We have lawyers and paralegals in China that can help you get set up to do business in the Hainan Free Trade Zone. We will help you with setting up your company, business law, and everything else. It will make your life much easier when doing business in China. If you need help with getting set up, fill out the form on this page.
The first free trade zone in China was set up in Shanghai. The main goal was to encourage companies and people overseas to do more business with China. Now there are more than ten free trade zones in China. The Hainan project is by far the largest one. Right now, it’s mostly just a general plan. However, we can still help you get set up with the program. If Hainan doesn’t work for you, our Chinese business lawyers can find another free trade zone for you. Even though the project isn’t fully developed yet, you can still use the Hainan zone.
Your lawyer will tell you if you should set up your company in Shanghai, Hainan, or Beijing. There are many benefits of setting up in Hainan which includes paying fewer taxes, having less regulation, and having municipal government support. Many people from countries like the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom enjoy being in Hainan. Again, it’s sort of like Hawaii, a lovely place with nice beaches.
What’s the benefit of setting up in the Hainan free trade port?
The point of a free trade zone is that the company exporting the products to China won’t be charged tariffs. It can also make it easier to invest in Chinese companies that are set up in China. Normally a Chinese company needs approval from the government to sell their shares overseas. In the Hainan free trade zone, all a company must do is have their lawyer file some paperwork.
The other point of a free trade zone is that everything moves much faster. You can get a license or permit very quickly. There is also government support that helps companies deal with any formalities or licenses. The customs in the zone will also be more relaxed and understanding, in theory.
It is very likely that a lot of western companies will be setting up their HQ in Hainan. It’s the perfect place to do business. The local government wants people to come and set up and do business.
How Can A Lawyer In China Help You Set Up In Hainan?
One of our lawyers or legal consultants can help you with:
Are you looking into how to make business connections in China? Are you starting a company and you want to make the right contacts? This article will provide you with some feedback and tips. Make sure that you understand the concept of Guanxi. If you need help with making business connections in China, read on.
Hopefully, by now you will have done business with Chinese, or at a minimum, people from Asia. You will likely have noticed that they form very close friend groups and relations with their families. In short, they take care of each other.
What exactly is guanxi? It is often referred to as networking or building relations with people. It is far more complicated than simple networking. Networking in places like the United Kingdom is going to an event, having a conversation, and passing them your business card. The hopes of an attorney at a networking event might be for referrals.
Guanxi is building super close relationships with people. These people might take care of your house, drive your children, or help you get out of trouble. Let’s say you enter into a “guanxi relationship” with someone that works at a university. You might want to get help from this person, let’s call them Mr, Lu, to help your child get into the university.
Mr. Lu connects you to the right people and uses his influence. Your child gets into a good school. When Mr. Lu goes on vacation for a few weeks and asks you to take care of his dog, you better do it. That’s Guanxi. It’s like exchanging favors. Some of the favors might be small, and some might be big. Chinese business relationships are based on trust.
Some people in western countries think Guanxi is the same as corruption. It’s not the same thing. Think of it as favors. Corruption is something that is illegal. Do not engage in corruption, or you will need to hire one of our criminal lawyers.
Small business owners and guanxi
The Chinese philosopher Confucius is said to be the one that brought the Guanxi culture to China. Confucius taught that everyone should build many different types of relationships. This meant business partners, families, friends, and community relationships.
There was a period of time in China when there was no legal system. There were no lawyers or judges. Therefore, Chinese people relied on Guanxi (relationships) to resolve their problems. People did not want to do bad things, or their reputation would be destroyed. To this day, a lot of family friends try to resolve their friends divorces by mediating. We have also seen friends and family get involved in resolving lawsuits. Sometimes it works well, other times we wish the friend would step aside and let our lawyers handle the problem.
These days, there is a strong legal system in China. People and companies in China can file lawsuits and divorces. However, people still seek protection and help from their family, friends, and connections.
Guanxi provided stability to the Chinese society before there was a legal system.
Alistair Vigier building relationships in China. However, it was 45 degrees outside, and he was not going to wear a suit…
Personal relationships and international business
People in China find it easier to deal with people they already know. This cannot be unstated. We have seen Chinese people dealing with lawsuits hire an immigration lawyer that they know to represent them. Even though the immigration lawyer knows very little about lawsuits, the person would rather hire a lawyer than they know.
If you want to do business in China, you are going to have to build actual relationships with people. Very close relationships. Chinese people see relationships as having a mutual obligation. It’s not a nice thing to do favors, you must do favors for family and friends.
Business meetings often start with small talk. You might want to share personal information about your team. Your ability to build relationships will people will determine your success.
Food is also very important, along with alcohol. Chinese people talk a lot about where to eat and drink. When you eat a meal in China, you often eat at a rotating table. Many people from each company might join. Someone will often provide a toast, and this toast or “cheers” will likely happen multiple times through the lunch or dinner. You might want to take small sips of your wine so that you don’t get drunk.
There is also alcohol that’s popular in China called “Baijiu.” Chinese people sometimes call it white wine, but it’s not. It’s very strong and a very high percentage of alcohol.
Business connections in China and business practices
In the west, someone might use their relationships to pick a real estate agent. However, in China, people use relationships for everything. This includes where to go grocery shopping. Many westerns really struggle with building connections in China for this reason.
When you are building connections in China, you must focus on the relationship, not on the business terms. In the United States, it’s all about what the terms of the deal are. In China, you must build a strong relationship with the person first. This often happens before you even discuss the deal at all. Once there is a mutual relationship, then normally the person trusts you, and cares little of the terms.
The biggest challenge with companies from places like Canada, the United States, and Australia that come to China is being clear on why they want to expand into the country. Many people get too excited about the population. There is a big difference between the population and the market.
You need to slow down and do things right. Hire an accountant and lawyer in China. We can help you connect with one. China is a long term project. You are going to be there for a long time. It’s not something that you do for a bit and sees what happens.
It’s also hard to get information on the internet in China. That’s why it’s lucky that you found our website. You should bookmark our website as we constantly write business blogs.
In China, you cannot rush into the terms of a deal and negotiation. You need to build a relationship with the person. That is one reason why hiring a Chinese lawyer (who can speak English) is helpful. The lawyer will not only be able to help you with the legal side of things but can help with the cultural aspects.
The person you are meeting with in China might ask you personal questions. You might wonder why they are asking you if you are married or not. Are they hitting on you? Probably not. They also might ask:
How old are you?
Do you have children? How many?
They are just trying to build a long term relationship.
You can see an example of gift-giving in China in the picture above.
Business connections in China
In China, things can be very complicated. There is always something going on behind the scenes. If you connect with a CEO, there is likely someone influencing this person. You need to find out about the person you are speaking to. Learn about this person and how they got into a power position. Someone’s wife or business partner might be calling the shots. You need to ask a lot of questions. Sometimes it’s someone from a government organization that is truly running things. That does not have to be a bad thing. However, you need to know the facts.
Here is a list of terms for you to do further research:
Business connections in China During Business Dinner
People show respect and “family” by having lots of food and drinks and the table. There might be more than ten dishes. When you “cheers” someone, you try to hit the glass slightly lower than their glass. You will also use your right hand to make the toast, and support your glass with your left hand. It might seem silly, but knowing these things will make the Chinese person impressed. They will know that you are experienced with Chinese culture and customs. Business is all about trust, and they will likely trust you more.
You will need to build close relationships with government officials in China. You should consider them your friends. Gift-giving is an important part of building close relationships. However, make sure the value of the gift is appropriate. Normally, a bottle of wine is appropriate. Make sure you build relationships with the right people. You don’t want to get limited to one group of people if they don’t help people. Don’t assume that one or two people will help you just because you brought them wine.
Gift giving is not corruption. Do not confuse the two things. Speak to a lawyer to learn about criminal laws in China. You also still need to make sure that you get a business lawyer in China to make sure that you have proper contracts in place.
In the picture above, the author is at the Alibaba HQ in Hangzhou, China
Business Opportunities In China
If you can do something with the internet industry in China, you will likely do very well. You can also look for opportunities that tie into China’s plan to build the “belt and road.” There is a road plan and a shipping plan. When making business connections in China, make sure you talk about the government’s plans and how you can help. The goal of the belt and road plan is to make it easier for people to trade with China.
For example, there are many businesses in Pakistan that are now doing business with China. China has built ports and roads in Pakistan. China has also offered a lot of loans to companies and countries. In Sri Lanka, China lent the government and businesses 1.5 billion dollars to build a new shipping port. When Sri Lanka defaulted on the loan, China took over the port. When there is a lot of money moving around, there are opportunities for business.
A lot of Chinese people love health products that come from other countries. They believe that people in western countries know more about health than China. Or in the alternative, they believe that products are of higher quality outside of the country. A lot of Chinese are very concerned about their baby’s health. People go to places like Canada or Hong Kong to buy a lot of products. They will go to the place with empty suitcases and fill them up.
Japan and Korean do well in the Chinese beauty industries. A lot of the products are skin whiteners.