Understanding one s culture is a very important key factor for your global business to be successful. In my following presentation, I will briefly discuss some key ideas that you will need to keep in mind while you are doing business in Taiwan. If you listen to me carefully, you will surely have no problem becoming a CEO in Taiwan; at least, you don t need to worry about your name appears on the headline of business entertainment section.
The first point I am going to talk about is GREETINGS AND COURTESIES
Upon meeting someone, Chinese lower their eyes slightly as a sign of respect. Staring into the eyes of a Chinese might make them uncomfortable. Face (mianzi), a measure of one’s dignity, is crucial in Taiwan. Taiwanese are enormously sensitive to maintaining face in everything they do. Saying or doing anything that causes someone to lose face can instantly destroy a relationship and any business that might result from it. Never insult or openly criticize someone in front of others. Do not treat someone as a person of lowly rank if their position in their company is high. A person’s face is also their company’s face. The relationship you develop with a person represents your relationship with his entire company.
BUSINESS ETHIC AND FRAMEWORK
Dwarfed by and staunchly opposing the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan regards business with the rest of the world as crucial to its survival, economically and politically. Taiwanese businessmen are generally practical and shrewd. Work is one of their most prized virtues, and they are willing to work ten or more hours each day. Taiwanese prefer to have their own business rather than be employed by a large corporation. This has resulted in thousands of small-scale, family-owned companies, and potential partners are plentiful. But it also means that business rivalries can be intensely personal and sometimes vicious. Taiwanese behavior is largely determined by Confucianism, which teaches respect for superiors, duty to family, loyalty to friends, humility, sincerity, and courtesy. Among coworkers, people of higher status and age are respected by those beneath them, and deferred to in speech and action. Older businesspeople are likely to be treated more seriously than younger ones.
Consensus is very important to Taiwanese and they will probably require time for a private discussion before they make a decision. Taiwanese try to avoid saying no, for fear of causing embarrassment or losing face. Instead of directly saying no, they are likely to say something is inconvenient or they might suggest something as an alternative. This is a way of being polite, and pushing a matter after you’ve received an evasive response will probably cause embarrassment and will probably not close a deal.
Taiwanese are used to doing business with women, and women visiting Taiwan can expect to be treated fairly and respectfully. However, except for the fashion and cosmetic industries, it is not usual for a woman to be the senior member of a business group. If your senior representative is a woman, you might consider including a man to “balance” your group. Women should not be overly aggressive or feel they have to “assert” themselves to be respected by Taiwanese businessmen. They do not; in fact, aggressiveness will be looked on with distaste.
Taiwanese are more comfortable as a group than as individuals. They become uncomfortable when people speak as individuals, or make statements that are not in harmony with the stated group view. One person, preferably your group’s senior member, should be designated as your spokesman. Taiwanese will assume all major communications come from him, and accept what he says as the position of your company. It is a good idea to send a list of your representatives before the meeting, and to include their rank in your company. You should also request a similar list from the Taiwanese. Your team will be led into a room in which the Taiwanese team is already present. The team leader should enter first. Teams sit across a table, leaders opposite each other and others seated in descending order of importance. Small talk will come first. Business is addressed after people feel comfortable with each other. The head of the host team will deliver a short welcome speech, then turn the floor over to the visitors. Your senior team member should speak for your company; avoid conflicting statements from other team members. When talking, your spokesman should address the Taiwanese senior representative. Taiwanese prefer to hear a proposal as a broad overview, and then respond to specific issues or questions point by point.
Except for formal situations, Taiwanese do not put much emphasis on dress style, which sets them apart from other East Asians. They will, however, expect you to wear a Western business suit, conservatively cut and of dark color. Summers in Taiwan are hot and humid, so lightweight materials will be more comfortable.
Since you are all my dear classmates, I will make the life easier for you. I have put together a cheat card. You can keep this card with you and this will be your life savior while you are traveling to Taiwan. Just please don t forget to give me a call if you are really visiting Taiwan as a CEO..