We are currently growing our business in Changshu (China). That’s why quite some experts from Continental all over the world are sent to China to support the building of new production lines. It is very exciting, but most of the expatriates don’t know what to expect. I used to say: They can first of all expect many friendly people who love smiling since China is “the land of smiles”.

I was born in Peking, but I am working in Germany for more than ten years now. I am responsible for the business development of the Business Unit ContiTech Elastomer Coatings in Asia and I would like to introduce the culture and habits of Chinese to my German colleagues.

Here are some hints for all of you:

  1. Chinese people are usually more reserved than western people. Please approach them proactively and friendly rather than wait until they make the first step towards you.
  2. On the first encounter you greet your colleague with both hands, that is seen as cordial.
  3. Most important: Smile! And in a natural and sincere way.
  4. Chinese are curious and like small talk. So don’t feel irritated if they directly ask questions about your family and hobbies.
  5. Show patience whilst explaining something.
  6. Even if they say they understood what you explained let them repeat the learnings to make sure they really understood.
  7. If you need to criticize, do it in confidence rather in public, in no case raise your voice or scream at someone.
  8. Support good follow up on issues and independent action with praise.

Our Chinese colleagues admire the Germans for being on time, reliable, clean and tidy. They appreciate the professionalism and sense for quality. In return though they have very high (sometimes exaggerated) expectations and sometimes find them arrogant, stubborn or choleric. Chinese are very much in need of harmony and don’t like showing negative feelings in public and that’s what they also expect from their colleagues.

As a guest in a foreign country you always need intuition and sensitiveness. But if you manage to gain the trust of a Chinese, you can count it as an award and a big enrichment!

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.


Yu Guo

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