Features Of Different Cultures

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Vietnam culture

Vietnamese is described as energetic, industrious and hard-working because these tendencies are expected of a good Communist.

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Vietnamese is creative, entrepreneurial as well as quick understanding but their knowledge is not systemic and well-organized ( hardly learn from the beginning to the end).

Vietnamese is afraid of changing and progressing, especially with new technology. When they do small business, they organize and manage perfectly but when it is getting bigger, they do not want to change outdated system and complicated, unnecessary manufacturing process ( they think that it works well and partly that’s why our economy still depends on agriculture).

Vietnamese is smart in dealing tasks individually, but lack of connectivity to create strength ( one Vietnamese person could complete the tasks excellently but 2 people make it worse, and more people make as mess – that how we describe us in Vietnamese ).

Vietnamese people are very impatient in any circumstances because when they deal any tasks, they always want to make it as quick as possible.

Vietnamese always appreciate solidarity and help each other in every tough situations because from our perspectives, close neighbors are more important than far relatives.

Indian culture

Indian people are very religious and they have very strong belief in their Gods and have dramatic respect to their religions, however, in some regions they are superstitious with some traditional devilish customs with corps.

Indian people are extremely excellent in dealing with technology and high-tech roles such as programming.

Indian parents have tendency to arrange for their kids with all major life decisions, especially with girls such as arranged marriage, career, vacancies.

Majority of Indian are described as frugal savers because they spend not so much in comparison with their income.

Indians seem to be really interested in judging and they will always judge people behind their backs, especially with women.

Because of their saving habit, Indians are also good at bargaining and in the larger scale, they are also excellent negotiators.

Chinese culture

Chinese people are good at enduring difficult situations although how tough it is because their ancestors had to face many social difficulties such as civil war, government pressure, etc.

They are also very ambitious, always try their best to reach the higher targets.

Chinese people really appreciate role ranking in every circumstances, in the family, when they are dining.

Chinese is very competitive because when they were young, Chinese are trained to participate in various competitions including academic and physical examinations.

Loyalty is one of the most appreciating values of Chinese because of their dramatic respect.

Their culture is a high-context culture so Chinese is not really good at expressing their feelings about every situations.

How would they change (be specific)

Basically Vietnam and China cultures are similar to each other because they have the same origin and geographic, spiritual, religious similarities. However, Indian perspectives are quite different. If they want to interact harmoniously, they need to change some ideas about behavior. In China and Vietnam, society and national economy depend dramatically on male to develop, however, the women status are significantly appreciated equally to men thanks to their contribution and fast-changing perspectives. Women now play significant roles in business, government and family. But in India, there is still a huge gender gap and women are not highly respected in the society and family. So if they want to work together, Indian global citizens need to eradicate their negative views about women because equal gender is a global progress in every culture and it deserves developing. Moreover, Chinese and Vietnamese people need to gain more knowledge about various religions in India because some food or behavior are completely prohibited in their religions to avoid incidentally disrespect their cultures. However, Chinese never eat with hand because they think it’s not clean (in fact, it is) and they always use spoons or chopsticks, so Indian need to change their eating habit also.

In business, Chinese and Vietnamese negotiators prefer working with well-dressed and clean-shaven businessman which they think that it’s easier to discuss, however, Indian are blessed with facial hair and not really worry about how they look. Specifically, they should pay more attention about their appearance because this would help them easier to work together. Moreover, punctuality is a notable value which Indian need to know because Chinese and Vietnamese businessmen really appreciate this value.

As I have mentioned, Vietnamese are smart but their knowledge is not systemic and well-organized so their business working style, system are different in comparison with Chinese and Indian. Moreover, they are afraid of changing and interacting so if they want to work globally, Vietnamese need to change their perspectives and personalities as well as develop global mindset.

What business opportunities would that present?

Coupled with globalization and mutual interaction between different economy, small business is the most beneficial type because they will be given more chances to interact with various suppliers and potential customers coming from different civilizations ( which is not difficult for big corporations at all). Moreover, they could easily seek for foreign co-founders who have same interest with you to establish new start-up or enterprise, this would help you to help different views about your future markets because different civilizations have different thought, perspectives about the same situations.

This would entrepreneurs embracing more business technology-based platform from different countries to diversify the economy sectors. For example: E-sport team investment are really popular in China with estimated up to 500 million USD advertisement, immensely rising reputation and hundreds of other incomes in this industry ( platform is quite similar to traditional sports), and Vietnam gradually develops this kind of business in some developed cities.

Potential appearance of new business platform which have never appeared before and the future combination of different business in one corporation such as the same technology system and manufacturing process could be used to reap benefits from much wider domestic as well as abroad markets.

Global dining and business etiquette

Scenario 1

You are going to China on a business trip.

Chinese dining etiquette

Chinese arrange their seats based on their role ranking (guest-of-honor (GOH) seat has to face host seat to facilitate the conversation. In descending of their rank, the second honored guests will seat new to GOH around the table. Host position is the least-favored, usually back facing the door and nearest the service, kitchen to easily call the waiter).

There are some specific rules that you need to know to avoid show disrespect:

  • Sticking chopsticks in food is completely prohibited because of the negative religious beliefs and also to avoid this if you meet the other Asian guests such as Vietnam or Laos.
  • It is not allowed move around plates with chopsticks to make noise because they think this will call souls from the hell, and also move your chopsticks around in the air too much with the same reason.
  • Do not point with your chopsticks to something or somebody because this will show disrespect.
  • You should use one hand to pick up your bowl and use chopstick to put the food into your mouth. It is notable to reverse your chopstick if your want to serve your guests.
  • It is host’s responsibility to serve the guests, so remember do not start eating until GOH and other guests have been served.

Other table manners:

  • Eating your soup with noise in some Western culture is considered rude but in Asian culture, specifically China, this shows your appreciation to the served food and the cook will definitely love it.
  • Remember do not dig around to search for your favorite food because this would be very rude to the surroundings.
  • Use your hand or handkerchief if you want to cough or sneeze. You should leave the table immediately if you find something unpleasant in your mouth.
  • The fist head need to point towards the GOH which show respect from the host.

Chinese business etiquette

Introducing yourself with a handshaking which is generally the accepted form of salutation. Chinese tend to shake hands very lightly and a handshake can last as long as 10 secs. When Chinese people greet someone, they do not look a person straight but lower their eyes slightly- sign of respect.

Greetings

Traditionally, it is accepted to call a Chinese person by the surname such as “Director Wang”, especially for business purposes. If you do not know him/her for a long time, avoid using his given name. Moreover, you should wear formally to show respect and clarify how you will address someone in relationship. Notably, remember to greet the oldest to the most senior.

Conversation

If you have a meeting with Chinese for the first time, expect them to ask personal questions related to your family or age and these questions are really important in your life. Sometimes, frank answers will reflect familiarity and closeness. Remember to avoid politics, even they start to talk about some topics such as Communism or Republic of China.

Gift Giving

Business culture in China appreciate first impression with a simple large gift to the company as a whole. If you want to give a present individually, it must be lesser values. If you are invited to a Chinese home, pay attention to their family background to give a small basket of fruits as a present or tea, perfume for the wife, toys for kids.

Scenario 2

Your Chinese business partner goes to India.

Indian dining etiquette

Before the meal

‘Atithi Devo Bhava’, which means ‘the Guest is God’, is something that Indians heartily believe in. It is a gesture of respect and honor to ask visitors to stay over for a meal.

If you’ve been invited for dinner, it’s quite okay to arrive at your host’s place 15 to 20 minutes after the scheduled time. Arriving early or exactly on time might seem rude as your host will be still in mid-preparation.

When the meal is announced. After the meal is announced, you must wash and dry your hands. Washing your hands is the first step of dining as per Indian etiquette.

In restaurants, hotels and urban homes, tables and chairs are arranged for dining, however, in rural areas, some families sit together in comfortable clothes on floor mats made for eating meals. In most Indian homes, generally, the homemaker arranges food for the family on the table and keeps an eye on who needs what, offering and bringing more food.

Sequence of food

Unlike Western culture, there are no “courses” when it comes to serving food in India. All of the food is served in one go. However, you might get to see varying serving styles, depending on the country’s regional cultures and different cuisines.

Also, dishes will be served as opposed to individual portions, so the homemaker will either serve the food on your plate or you may help yourself.

Standard Indian food

You would usually be served the standard Indian meal, which comprises flatbreads like naan, chapati, roti or paratha, daal, curries, raita, rice, pickles and some sweets. The food served might differ if you go to different regions of the country

Sharing food

Indian culture highly encourages sharing food with others. If you’re dining at an Indian restaurant with a friend and both of you order different dishes, then it is customary to share your dish with the other. But keep in mind to share only from the serving dish or bowl and not from your plate

Similarly, taking food from someone else’s plate is also considered bad manners. Also, do not dip your used spoon and fork into other person’s food or the main serving dish as it is considered highly unhygienic.

Indian business etiquette

Greetings and titles

A handshake is the standard way to greet men and women in a business setting, whatever their age or seniority.

When meeting with small independent retailers in non-urban areas, you may be greeted by your potential partner with the word namaste (pronounced nah-mas-tay). Often people will slightly nod or bow their heads when shaking hands, particularly with senior figures. The left hand is considered unclean and as such, should never be used alone to offer or accept a handshake, drink, food, money, gifts or business cards.

Body language

Indians tend to value their personal space and are generally not prone to making much physical contact.

It is not uncommon for Indian men to engage in friendly back patting. This is a sign of friendship and a positive signal for your working relationship.

Showing the soles of your feet or your shoes, or pointing your feet towards anyone, is considered highly disrespectful and insulting in India, as is stepping on or over papers, books, religious offerings on the ground – and especially people.

It is rude to touch anyone’s head. Pointing with fingers is also disrespectful; if you must point, use your thumb, with the rest of your fingers curled into a fist, palm facing upward.

Business cards

These are essential when conducting business in India and must be handled with respect. Make sure your card includes your name, company name, position and email address, all in English. If you have a higher degree such as a masters or a PhD, you may wish to disclose it on your business card, as it will earn you greater respect in India.

Corporate culture

Depending on the type of Indian business you are dealing with, it is not common for middle management to have decision-making autonomy.

Make sure the person you are negotiating with is senior enough to commit to business and partnership decisions. Do not begin business meetings by getting straight to the heart of the negotiation. Take a short time to ask personal questions about your contact’s family and background, covering topics such as how long they have worked in the company or industry and where they grew up.

Dress code

Conservative, professional attire is expected in the business setting, although this can differ depending on the season and the city.

Men should generally wear a suit (with tie) and women should wear a business dress or a suit with a blouse (not low-cut and, in the case of skirts, not too short).

Scenario 3

You and your business partner are visiting a Vietnam together to create a joint venture with a company there.

Vietnamese dining etiquette ( basically Vietnamese etiquette is quite similar to Chinese culture)

Daily food

Vietnam dinner is the main meal where the family gathers and reports back their day. Women are usually responsible for preparing the meal, with or without the help of their mother or daughters. Some better-off family has a dining table while the rest, though you may find it bizarre, have dinner on the ground floor. It is Vietnamese tradition to share food while eating.

Dinner food usually includes one or two main dishes such as stewed pork, steamed chicken or fried fish; one dish of boiled or stir-fried vegetable and one bowl of broth.

Steamed rice is considered inevitable in the most meal.

Some notable rules:

When dining, it is polite gesture to pass all dishes using both hands

  • Place your chopsticks on the designated chopsticks holder when taking a break to drink or to speak. It is a sign of disrespect to stick your chopsticks.
  • Vertically in the middle of the rice bowl.
  • It is customary for Vietnamese to hold rice bowls close to their faces while dining.
  • Never eat directly from the serving dish.
  • It is acceptable to ask for forks to avoid embarrassment. However, make sure to confess about your inadequacy before doing so.
  • Remember to finish the food put on your plate. This shows respect for the cook and is not wasteful.
  • When invited by some locals for a meal, it is advisable to bring gifts. Gifts can come in the form of flowers, pastries, or fruits and must be wrapped in very colorful packaging.
  • Avoid giving things that are black, hankies and flowers that are color yellow.
  • The first thing to remember is that one must wait to be shown where to sit in the dining table. There are positions in the dining table that are allocated to different people based on significance to the family, stature, and age. The oldest person in the group or in the family is the one who is seated first. Guests must wait, likewise, for the oldest person to eat first because this is a sign of respect (quite similar to Chinese dining etiquette).
  • Make sure to finish everything to make your host feel that you are satisfied with the meal. If had enough, you politely decline more food by covering your bowl. If you like a particular dish then you can ask for a second serving. This would simply mean that you like the food so much.

Vietnamese business etiquette

Some notable business customs in Vietnam

Vietnamese businessmen are really punctual and they expect others to be so to. Handshakes also play a really important role in first meeting and upon departing. However, this only usually take place between members of same sex. Some Vietnamese use a two-handed shake, with a left hand on top of right wrist.

Always wait for a woman to extend her hand. If she does not, bow your head slightly.

11 February 2020

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