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Hong Kong was occupied by United Kingdom in the year 1841. It was officially ceded by the china in the following year. China and UK signed an agreement on 19 December 1984 which made Hong Kong a Special Administrative Region (SAR) for China on 1 July 1997. The agreement stated that China will have "one country, two systems" formula, China will not impose Hong Kong on socialist economic system and Hong Kong will enjoy an self-rule in all matters except defense and foreign affairs for the subsequent 50 years.
Hong Kong has a population of 70.7 million with ethnic groups comprise of 95% Chinese, 2% of each Filipino and Indonesian and 2% of others origin. The official language is Chinese (Cantonese) where 6.4% of the population speaks of other Chinese dialects and 3.2% speaks English. Religion is a combination of diverse local groups and 10% Christianity. Hong Kong is considered as one of the most heavily populated areas in the world.
Hong Kong is situated in Eastern Asia and shares borders with the country of china and South China Sea. Out of Hong Kong's 426 sq miles, 18 miles is sharing borders with China and 455 miles is shared by South Sea China coastline. Hong Kong's climate is of subtropical monsoon. Hong Kong frequently faces the problem with the natural hazard i.e. Typhoon. The Countries best natural resources are the deep water harbor and feldspar. This feldspar is used to make porcelain which is used in their daily life.
Hong Kong is considered as special administrative region of the People's Republic of China. The government has a limited democracy and the official structure is based on English law. They do not have a native military forces, their military is of People's Liberation Air Force, People's Liberation Army Ground Forces, and People's Liberation Navy. They are over circuitous management of the Central Military Commission of Beijing and over the administrative power of the Guangzhou Military Region.
Hong Kong's market basically depended on finance and the international trade. It is consider center for companies and businesses. Many famous Banks are originated from this place. The market works on capital service economy charging low taxes, free trade and least government involvement. Hong Kong does most of its business through China such as trade, tourism and finances. Hong Kong's do export trade mostly to China with 49% of the market which was recorded in 2008. Most of the export is of electrical machinery and appliances, apparel, footwear, textiles, watches and clocks etc. With low restriction on travelling between China and Hong Kong, lot tourist is attracted to Hong Kong. It is been viewed that the tourism has been quadrupled in 2001 to 2008. Hong Kong's Stock Exchange has 33% of China firm in listing and they are accounted for the three-fifth for the Capital. The market is booming with the service industry as the manufacturing industry is moved down to China. Hong Kong mostly imports raw materials and semi-manufactures, capital goods, consumer goods, fuel, foodstuffs. The country local currency is Hong Kong Dollar which is highly integrated to American Dollars.
CONTRAST BETWEEN HONG KONG AND UK
Similarity leads to interpersonal attraction (Byrne, 1971). While comparing both the countries there are going to be lot of difference between populations, cultures, ethnicity, business, finance, etiquettes. The most eye viewing similarity could be the population i.e. both countries have approximately same population of 7 million and consider themselves as major financial centers and a globally important and cosmopolitan. Hong Kong population is almost ethnic Chinese whereas UK have mixed communities like Latin Americans, Koreans, Bangladeshis, Nigerians, Middle Easterners, Eastern Europeans and so on. The third of UK population are outside of UK.
People from Hong Kong uses once surname for greeting, often followed by generational name, then a personal name followed by either by nod, slight bow, or offer their hands whereas UK people uses the personal name for greetings followed by a handshake. In Hong Kong, acquaintances are addressed by the professional title (eg. Managers, Vice President) followed by their surname, if someone does not have a professional title name then they uses a title like Mr, Mrs or Miss whereas in UK people greet acquaintances by using Sir, Madam. During Conversation, Hong Kong natives try to maintain face throughout for any kind of interactions. They try to avoid negative responses during conversation by using replies like "perhaps" or "let's discuss later". In UK, they do not feel at ease when people try to make an eye contact and they fell free for any kind of responses.
In business situations, the first thing the Hong Kong business executives do is exchange of Business card and the details on the card are printed in both English and Chinese whereas in UK the exchange of Business card is done after the meeting. Hong Kong people greet the person holding the most senior position and acknowledgment of others should be reflected in hierarchical order and it is same for the UK citizens.
In Business Meeting, the agendas of the meeting are considered very important for Hong Kongers. They come well prepared for the meetings and do not like to waste time for any other factors. They have a diplomatic approach for the discussions and there is a chance of raised voices and emotions. In UK, agendas of the meeting are kept loosely and if something essential arise; they will not exclude it from the meeting. They do not do too much preparation and they go with the flow of the meeting.
In Hong Kong, the attitude is highly influenced by westerners. Women play a vital role in the Hong Kong businesses but they face working difficulties as their point of views are not heard as compare to men whereas in UK, 50 percent of the workforce is governed by women but will be found with low pays or doing part time jobs. They are paid less compared to men doing a same job. Women in UK can be found having Managerial position in workplaces.
Hong Kong counterparts greet all others present in the social functions and the host of the party is presented with a gift and same etiquettes can be seen in UK too. Punctuality in the meeting, working place, functions are considered paramount in both the countries. If someone is late, telephone and give a time when you expect to arrive.
In both the countries Business attires are very important in a meeting. Hong Kong men executive like to wear dark suits, shirts and ties. Women also wear suits for the meeting. It is advice to be well dressed and people are very conscious about designer clothing. In UK, the companies has introduced a policy called "dress down", which gives freedom for employee to wear smart casuals. Women tends to wear suits with little bit of accessories that they can carry properly.
Hong Kong people use chopstick as an eating implements and it is advisable to use them properly. Chopsticks should not be positioned upright in the rice bowl, as it is considered impolite. Rice is considered as filler and it will serve with every course. Leaving little rice in the bowl at the end will indicate that the person is well satisfied with the food and they have been enough served. In UK, it is advice to use cutlery while eating holding fork in the left and knife in the right. It is rude to start eating before everyone is served unless the host says that you do not have wait. Never put your elbow on the table as it is considered impolite. It is ok if you pour your own drink while eating with other people.
CULTURALLY INTELIGENT ADVICE
Negotiating in Hong Kong is considered easier than other countries. While negotiating the person should maintain a good self image of them in front of their counterparts. Successful negotiation is done through maintaining a personal friendship with the client beforehand. They keep an informal meeting with the client before the main meeting as to understand each other and essential as to form a good business bonding. In UK, they spend most time in collecting information and discuss particulars of the bargaining phase as to start the negotiation. They like to share some sensitive information so as to build trust. The UK counterparts does not like if someone provides them with misleading information as they think it is unfair or inappropriate. They do not like if the other party is taking too much time for negotiation as they think that the party is lost interest in the deal.
In Hong Kong, decision making is done in hierarchal manner and they follow line of authority. The decision maker considers group concern while making the decision. While making a decision they consider practical practices rather than following any decision making principles. In UK, vertical hierarchal are used in old traditional companies but for fast paced industries uses flat hierarchal and assign authority to lower position. A lower position decisions requires top management approval. A decision which is been taken is difficult to change. They follow specific rules and principles for decision making. They use evidence decision making rather than decision making using experience.
Hong Kong values are conserved and it is difficult to prevail over with time and efforts. According to Hofstede analysis, Hong Kong scores at 68 for Power Distance (PDI) pointing that they believes that inequalities between people are acceptable. The country is influenced by formal authority and sanctions and is in general optimistic about people's capacity for leadership and initiative. For UK PDI score is 35, they believe that the inequalities between people should be minimized. They are incompatible with the British class system and it causes tension in the culture. They believe that people should be treated as equal.
For Individualism (IDV), Hong Kong scored 25 which show that the country is a collectivist where people work operates in the interest of the group and not for themselves. They are very close to their closed ones and like to be very cordial towards them. They are very cordial to inner group and hostile to outer group. While in communication they like to keep a harmony and avoid conflicts. UK score 89 in IDV and they believe in individualism and they keep their life private. Childrens are realized from an early age about the purpose of their life. There route to happiness is through individual accomplishment.
Hong Kong masculinity (MAS) scores 57 shows that they have masculine society. The country is driven over success. Working late is considered as the step to success. Students are told that for being successful in life they need to get good exam scores as it is the criteria for getting success. UK is also a masculine society, scores 66. There is confusion between British culture of understatement and modesty. People in UK work to live and they have a clear ambition.
Hong Kong scores 29 in Uncertainty avoidance (UAI). The country is very attached to the law and rules are according to the situations. They are comfortable if they face some uncertainty in their life. The language is very ambiguous and difficult to understand for others. They are very adaptable and entrepreneurial. UK scores 35 in UAI; it means that society does not worry to what future may hold. They just go along with the life. They like to follow rules to whatever is present in their society. They have a clear vision for their goals but they do not show urgency in achieving it. They have a high level of creativity and innovation.
The country has a very high score for Long Term Orientation (LTO), scoring 96. They have a society who feels steadfastness in doing something despite there is a delay in achieving the goals and very persistence. The relationships are seen by status and they are very keen to it. The country uses their resources very carefully avoiding any wastage. They like to invest in long term projects like real estate. For LTO UK scores 25, they have great respect for the history and focuses on short term goals and quick results.
Then we have Iceberg model which basically explains about the Behavior, Beliefs, values and Thought Pattern. The Iceberg can be seen as an Internal and External culture. The External (Conscious) culture is what other people can see and it is the tip of the iceberg and it includes behavior and a few beliefs. The Internal (Subconscious) is beneath the surface and it includes values, thought and some beliefs. The internal culture is very difficult to change and it provides subjective knowledge. The external culture can be changed with little pressure and it provides Objective knowledge. The model help us to understand that we cannot judge someone culture by just looking. To understand an individual we must interact with that person and it will help us to know his belief and value; and the underlie behavior.
While looking into the above two models, it is easily under stable that it is very important to know ones culture before hand while doing any business transaction internationally. The Hofstede model helps us to understand as to what type of society an individual leaves in and how they behave culturally. Sometime doing things against the culture make people offended and it is very important to understand ones emotions. The Iceberg Model explains about the Behavior and Belief of an individual. Like the top part of the Iceberg, one can easily understand the behavior of someone by the way of his doing but it is very difficult to understand someone thought pattern as it is felt internally by that person like the lower part of the Iceberg. Hofstede and Iceberg Model will help the individual in understanding as to how he needs to carry out the communication, business decision making and negotiation process. The Business Executive should keep these three things into the mind before doing any transactions as it will be the thing that will result in success or failure of that transaction.
While doing the contrast between Hong Kong and UK, I think that UK has a very good approach towards the meeting agenda rather than the Hong Kong. I personally feel that the meeting should not only be focused on the agenda, if something comes out during that meeting, it should not be left out and should be discussed rather than just focusing on the subject.