Culture always makes a great impact on international trade. Although there are similarities between various cultures, but there are also obvious differences, the ever-present different cultural backgrounds affect international trade. Different cultural products in international trade will have the name, trademarks, advertisements, and verbal and written communication translation impact. Therefore, cultural factors should be taken into account in the international trade, in order to avoid misunderstandings which may result in economic losses.
In international trade, cultural background, language and customs and other cultural differences become the invisible barriers as cross-cultural communication in international trade. To analysis the differences of language and cultural factors and their impact, the crucial element to open the international market and expand International trade successfully is implementing cross-cultural exchange effectively. Many powerful companies failed in international business, the main reason are not the shortage of capital or technology, but due to ignoring the cultural differences impact on trade and communication.
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According to the importance of culture, it is necessary to know the culture well. When acquiring a language and know the accuracy meaning in the culture, we can communicate with others through it. By understanding the customs, we can anticipate how business partners and customers are likely to respond. By learning the partners or customers' culture values, we can distinguish between what is considered right or wrong, acceptable or offensive. To know the different ways of thinking in different culture, we can identify with other managers, provide knowledge to meet and negotiation with them.
A bitter case shows the consequences of disrespect of custom. Lawrence Stessin, the anthropologist, pointed this in his report. A business man from North California wanted to purchase a textile machines company from Birmingham in UK to open the European market. Not long after he took over the company, the manager from America want to rectify a problem about the British teatime. Lawrence said, in British, every worker had the teatime of half an hour. During the time, workers can taste some wine in the large ounce container on their own preferences. The manager proposed reducing the teatime to 10 minutes and union agreed. But a week later, the workers rioted in the factory. They broke the windows, destroyed the machines and hooted the administrators. The manager tried to redeem for the loss, he installed the vending machines with the low capacity cups instead of the large ounce containers. Based on the American custom, the rules requested more contribution and loyalty of the workers but disrespected the local custom, the company ended in bankruptcy.
Once an American corporation wanted to enter the market of south China, they sent a representative to deal with the business. Also, China side wants to enlarge its trade. Since both sides were satisfied with the deal, the negotiation should be favouring. But the process of negotiation was not so simple. It was problem here that the different thinking way. To show humility and amiable, the Chinese manager always used some fuzzy words, like 'maybe', 'perhaps', 'whatever', etc.. All these made the American manager doubted whether the Chinese manager were pure-hearted to make the deal. So they didn't sign the contract in China. To show the respect to others, the Chinese manager didn't express his will to deal. After going back to America, the manager wrote a letter to China and directly express that he wanted to cooperate with China. The Chinese are happy to accept and wrote back. But in the long letter, he put the key point in the end with the long-winded matting before. At last there was no transaction because of the misunderstanding which resulted from different mode of thinking.
It is quite normal for a transnational enterprise to hire talented persons. While unseemly ways of arranging employees led to a series of problem in an enterprise. To some extent, the appearance of these people leads to internal staff personnel psychological confrontation. This is a process of coordination and adjustment. But the administration ignored this serious point and just paid more attention to these talented persons. During this period, the spirit and morale of the old staff were affected. They became less loyal and negative and resulted in the decline in performance.
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Another situation will lead to the discord among employees. As a Chinese, we are used to it while which may offend people in other countries. Suppose there are three employees, A, B and C. When A and B are talking about something, C comes and interrupts their conversation or joins their talking. It is normal in China and people can accept. In western, however, people think they were not respected or even offended. They can't accept this behaviour. So if this situation happens in an enterprise with employees from different countries, the harmonious atmosphere will be broken and lead to the performance.
Nonverbal communication-during the conversation, not only the express are different, but also the space distance in different culture background. In UK, people divided the distance into four types: intimate distance, personal distance, social distance, public distance. In France, people will hug and kiss the face. While in China, there is no definite distance in social intercourse. The type of body touch is shaking hands or hugging which mostly happens among the same gender. Expect lovers, the situation of kissing and hugging will never happen among the opposite gender. And females always go out hand in hand if they are good friends which may be misunderstood in western countries.
In the East-West cooperation business process, cultural backgrounds, different cultural mentality, customs, are often overlooked by many people. While the cultural factor is the key factor that determines the success or failure of business activities. Quite different from the normal trade, the international trade within different culture background request more. Dealers should know each other's culture and custom very well. It's the guarantee of success.
In international business, we should pay more attention to differences in cross-cultural communication. Correctly deal with cultural differences and prevent the barriers that may be caused by cultural patterns and cultural prejudices. Among the staff, everyone should respect each other and treat equality.
The key to success in cross-culture communication is treating the culture difference properly; try to exclude cultural superiority, cultural patterns and cultural prejudices of the interference. This is the only way to carry out the international trade activities in cross-culture communication successfully. We can establish the international culture exchange centre; carry out the multi-level forms of culture display and exchange to eliminate the concept of custom, language and art appreciation and other aspects of trade barriers.
The formulation of foreign trade policy for the enterprises should be syncretised with that the local culture. We can't always challenge a culture if it's not suited to our 'system'. It is necessary to create the country's cultural products for sale, but also the manner and extent of pricing that people can accept, and try to find suitable local custom channels to purchase objects willing to accept the publicity. These links are indispensable, and only all of them are put together organically, the barriers can be broken.
In conclusion, we stress that culture is the primary factor in business trade, and the major barrier is the difference between historical cultures. Cultural factors are unavoidable. Cultural universals are dominant, and cultural differences can be bridged by international trade. Moreover, with the development of cultural interpenetration, the influence of cultural differences will become smaller. The cross-culture communication activity will become easier than before.