Cultural due diligence for success in China – Carl Hinze

Carl Hinz_speakingCarl Hinze is a Partner at Holding Redlich in Brisbane. A recognized expert in Chinese sociolinguistics, he has published numerous articles on cross-cultural communication and Chinese politeness research. Having worked as  a lawyer in China for 10 years, Carl shared his insights at Australia China Business Council on “The importance of cultural due diligence in doing business successfully with China.” 

Culture and language can be more important than technical expertise

Many deals fail due to culture differences. The skill is in balancing the “know how of the West” with the “culture of the East”. Culture is what we do that binds us together – what is the same, and what is different?

HeirachyImportance of hierarchy – information flows downwards and the objective is to make the boss look good

 Indirect communication

Communication styles – may not tell you directly what their needs are


Spaghetti RelationshipsRelationships – spaghetti relationships sees much more interconnections, flow of information and dealing with  problems in a different way.

There are three components to Chinese relationship:

  • Mianzi 留面子 or “face”- showing respect to others according to the person’s status
  • Guanxi 关系  – social networking, relationships or connections among people
  • Renqing / 人情 – exchanging favours, an important element of maintaining guanxi.

Whilst it can take a huge amount of effort to build trust, the success that can follow for those that are patient and take the time will likely be rewarded.

Carl Hinz_stacey_Rohan_TrishaExpat Advisors Community members Stacey Martin, Founder,Rohan Baker, Berlitz , and Trisha Carter, Cultural Collectives with Carl Hinze at the ACBC event.