I have heard a lot about cultural differences between the east and the west, but are Chinese people too different from us? I want to discuss some similarities I have found between Chinese and Latin Americans.
As a Mexican living in China for 2 years, I have being involved in personal and business situations with Chinese people. After this time I have come to the conclusion that it is not so difficult to understand them, and I can even relate to some of their ideas and traditions.
The more familiar I’ve become with their culture, the more I’ve benefited from the great advantages of doing business with such an unknown market to many companies.
Similarities between Chinese and Latin American cultures
When we think of China in Latin America, it might seem like a country that is just too far away in both culture and distance. And it is true that we have a lot differences, but in fact I have found 3 things that Chinese and Latin Americans have in common.
1. Personal relationships:
One of the main similarities I’ve found is the role of trust and personal relationships as a key element when doing business in China.
Just like in Latin America, Chinese like to get to know the person they are going to do business with, having dinner with them, sometimes even introducing them with their family. It is a way to create a deeper bond of trust without which it is difficult to move forward when doing business.
Despite the idea that a lot of people may have about the Chinese people, they are very friendly, and hospitable people with foreigners. This might not be easy to grasp when walking in the street as a tourist. But when sitting on a business dinner, or making Chinese friends it is surprising to see their warmth and kindness.
They are interested in knowing and hearing about life in other countries, their traditions, values, and family dynamics, etc. Meeting them at a personal level facilitates communication, business and loyalty.
3. Family values:
These are extremely important for them. Family is the most important circle in Chinese people’s lives, and they are very committed to “family rules” such as getting married and having children at a young age. This is also true in Latin America, although in both places it is slowly changing among younger generations.
Latin American families tend to be bigger than Chinese ones, since Chinese people were limited in having children due to the one child policy. But regardless of the size of families, the closeness with parents and grandparents is very strong in both cultures throughout their lives.
I can also perceive the importance of family since almost in every business meeting I have gone to, I get asked a lot about my family, and about my marriage plans. Even if its the first time I have met them!
Knowing that Chinese and Latin Americans have very similar values in terms of family, friends, relationships and trust helps us relate more to them. And it will make us see in them much more than a group of people different from us. We open a world of possibilities to do business, and along with it, make new interesting friends.