Creating Goodwill with the Chinese
In America, we do not emphasize the symbolism and meaning behind a gift as other countries do, especially in Asia. Chinese symbols and meanings infiltrate the cities and landscapes of the region. From art to architecture, clothing to kitchenware, symbols of luck, prosperity and abundance are sure to be found. The Chinese believe that incorporating positive symbols in their lives will inexorably lead to positive results in their existence. This is a valid belief, as it has been proven that whatever one focuses upon inevitably makes its way into one’s life.
The Chinese are incredibly skilled at assigning deeper meanings to various symbols to represent a condition or energy. Walking through their country is a true education. Among the myriad of symbols, the Chinese symbols for longevity are widespread and quite intriguing. For example, would you ever think of a gourd representing long life? The gourd in Chinese culture is used in the art of Feng Shui extensively. A long, healthy, prosperous life is one of the most admirable and highest goals of humanity. It only makes sense that the Chinese, along with so many other cultures, would establish many symbols to represent the facets of longevity.
For this reason, gift giving can be viewed as ceremonial with an outcome that can be an essential determinant of success or failure. Equally important is the recognition of an organization’s hierarchy whereby the most prominent gifts are given to the most prominent figures. Properly executed, it enhances goodwill. Poorly thought, a business relationship, or guanxi, is severely challenged.
Business development in China continues to grow at a rapid pace. For this reason, understanding and respecting their culture and cultural nuances is beneficial in building guanxi.