In China you begin your negotiation by setting up a relationship and building trust.
In the West, you begin your business through a transaction. You have a test sale or test order. If that’s successful, you’ll have another one that’s bigger, then another one, and after a while if everything is right then you’ll develop a trusting relationship.
We end up in the same place, both Chinese and Westerners. If we’re successful we’ll end up with a trust-based relationship that yields a wide range of transactions.
But the Chinese start from the position of trust and relationship, and then add the transaction when they are satisfied. The Americans and Europeans start with a transaction and if that goes well, we end up with a familiar trusting relationship.
It’s the same ultimate destination, but we start from very different places - and that’s where we get into trouble.