Here in Japan, I am constantly being told stories of how people went to China on business, either to buy or sell something, or to establish a company, and ended up being cheated.

While I won’t say that nobody is ever cheated in China—people are cheated every day in all countries—I can say that almost all of the stories I have heard can be explained by greed on the part of the person going to China, or a total misunderstanding and/or lack or even wanting to understand the Chinese people, language, or how business is done in China. Basically, they went there with their own set of preconceptions and common sense, and either just expected them to hold true in China or tried to enforce them there. A recipe for disaster!

All countries and cultures are different, but China is very different. Before going you need to know a little about these differences, or at the very least accept that they exist and be prepared to work with them.

And don’t trust the first person you meet who just happens to speak your language. But more about that later . . .