Tips for a successful sports-cum-business trip to Beijing

For those corporate biggies heading to Beijing to watch Olympics and also boost their business prospects, it is important to be aware of Chinese traits and behavioral patterns. The key is to develop a working knowledge of Chinese culture. Following are some important tips for effective business communication in China:

1. Bowing or nodding is considered the common form of greeting. You also may be offered a handshake. Wait for the other person to offer his or her hand first.

2. Introductions are formal. Use formal titles during introduction.

3. The Chinese may seem unfriendly when being introduced. This is because they don’t like displaying excessive emotion.
4. Being on time for a business meeting is vital in China.

5. Prior appointments are a must for business meetings.

6. Contacts should be in place prior to your trip.

7. Carry several copies of all written documents for your business meetings.

8. When being introduced, make it a point to stand up
9. The decision-making process tends to be slow. You need to patient with your Chinese counterparts.

10. Remain standing till the introduction formalities are over.
11. Present and receive business cards with both hands.

12. Never scribble on a business card. Do not casually thrust it in your wallet. Instead carry a small card case.

13. Many Chinese clients will want to consult with the stars or perhaps wait for a lucky day before making a decision.

14. The most important / senior member of your firm or group should head important meetings. Chinese clients value rank and status.

15. Let the Chinese counterpart leave a meeting venue first.

Following are some handy ideas for an appropriate appearance when in China for business purpose:

1. Conservative suits with subtle colors is usually the norm for men.

2. Casual dressing is not advisable. Try to be conservative.

3. Jeans are not acceptable for a business meeting.

4. Women should avoid wearing short sleeved blouses and high heels. Revealing clothing is considered offensive. The Chinese won’t appreciate it.

5. Subtle, neutral colors by both men and women will go well with Chinese delegates.

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Mixing sports with business: corporate honchos head to Beijing Olympics

The number of chief executives who are planning to make their presence felt at the Beijing Olympic Games is likely to rival the number at the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland that often attracts over 1,000 business leaders.

Lured by the increasing importance of the Chinese market and the opportunity to help Beijing in celebrating its biggest international event yet, the corporate honchos are heading to Beijing. No surprise, tickets for the Olympics opening ceremony are going for $50,000 in the gray market.

Indicating the interesting trend, a report in the Wall Street Journal mentions that in addition to thousands of athletes, over 80 heads of state and close to 30,000 members of the media, another group that is expected to invade Beijing in full force for the Olympics is corporate executives! The report quotes chief executive of advertising conglomerate WPP Group PLC Sir Martin Sorrell as saying: “You could call it a sporting Davos. It goes beyond just a wonderful sporting occasion. There are political and economic implications.”

In fact, many executives perceive the Olympics as a must event for firms that do business in China, or hope to. Bill Gates is set to attend, for example, as is Rick Wagoner, General Motors Corp. CEO. Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries, India’s largest business house is also said to be heading for Beijing. Few other leading industrialists are likely to follow suit.

Among prominent global CEOs expected to attend the Games are Blackstone Group LP’s Stephen Schwarzman; BP PLC’s Tony Hayward Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s H. Lee Scott Jr. and Terry Leahy, of Tesco PLC; Motorola Inc.’s Greg Brown; News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch, and. Yahoo Inc. CEO Jerry Yang may also be there. Randall Stephenson, the AT&T Inc. CEO, plans meetings with customers, partners and employees in Beijing.

The top executives of dozens of Olympics sponsor firms, including Volkswagen AG’s Martin Winterkorn and McDonald’s Corp.’s Jim Skinner are also going to be there. Many of these firms will hold board meetings in Beijing. The Olympics is looking more like a corporate meet than a sporting spectacle!

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A fitting Gift on eve Of Beijing Olympics

A Brief History of the Olympic Games: The ancient Olympics captured the imaginations of the Greeks for more than a millennium until a Christianized Rome put a stop on the competitions in the fourth century AD. But the Olympic ideal did not die. This book by American scholar David Young’s titled ‘A Brief History of the Olympic Games’ (Publishers: Wiley-Blackwell) is a succinct history of the Olympics and their modern resurgence.

Prof. Young researched the subject for over 25 years. He reveals in the book how the ancient Olympics evolved from a modest beginning into a grand sporting festival, attracting highly trained athletes, spectators, and even the finest artists and poets.

The Naked Olympics: Tony Perrottet’s ‘The Naked Olympics’ (Publishers: Random House) is a charming book that depicts the world of the games through the vision of imaginary Greek athlete Hippothales, who wanders around the sporting site. The author describes not only the athletic competitions but also the intriguing world of religiosity, pilgrimage and commerce in which they were set.

The acclaimed author brings erudition, humor and attitude to the fascinating tale of the original Olympic festival, tracking the event day by day to recreate the charm in all its compelling spectacle, using firsthand reports and little-known resources including an actual ‘Handbook for a Sports Coach’ used by the Greeks.

Olympic Dreams: China and Sports: Xu Guoqi in his ‘Olympic Dreams: China and Sports, 1895-2008’ (Publishers: Harvard University Press) covers how under Communism, sport became a passionate political project as much as cultural revolution or youth indoctrination.

‘Olympics’ by Chris Oxlade (D K Publishing)is a triumphal history of the games, starting from ancient Greece. Readers will come to discover the pageantry of the original Olympics; Pierre de Coubertin’s revival of the modern games in the year 1896, the variety of Olympic sports, astounding world records and much more in the book.

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