Here are 4 mistakes commonly made in international business and international negotiations with Chinese
1) Assuming all Chinese are alike
Singapore Chinese resemble mainland Chinese the way Americans resemble British. Shared language, some shared values, but otherwise different business techniques and norms
2) Moving too quickly; not having enough time
Chinese cultures are ancient. China is the last of the great civilizations, with a 4000+ year history. They are patient and they enjoy getting to know you while negotiating. And the one who is most impatient has the disadvantage. Americans in particular are notorious for planning trips that are too short
3) Thinking “Yes” means “Yes”
“Yes” may mean: “I’ve heard you” or “I understand.” There are no words for “yes” and “no” in the Chinese language. Using finite concepts like that are foreign to them.
4) Thinking “A deal is a deal”
“First an arrangement, then a negotiation”
The Mainland Chinese philosophy is that one can always negotiate. Thus, signed contracts are easily and often re-negotiated.