7 Tips for Business Trips to Shanghai

Planning on doing business in China? Doing business in China is not the same as wherever you’re from. If you keep comparing China to your country, however wonderful it is, you won’t enjoy China very much. Take it on its own terms.

Tips for Doing Business in ChinaPlanning on doing business in China? Doing business in China is not the same as wherever you’re from. If you keep comparing China to your country, however wonderful it is, you won’t enjoy China very much. Take it on its own terms. Here are some tips for doing business in Shanghai.

7 Tips for Business Trips to Shanghai

Here are some tips for doing business in Shanghai.

Macdonalds Shanghai
Macdonalds Shanghai

1. Be punctual – Shanghai people are known for their punctuality, so they’ll expect the same for you. While this is not true in most of Asia, here is to be observed. Try to arrive 10 minutes early.
2. Stay in Pudong – this is to east side of Shanghai and is where most of the high-tech business and government buildings are located. PuXi is the older, more traditional side of Shanghai. So, unless you have business on the west side of the river, stay over here.
Tip – you can take a fantastic underwater train from PuDong to PuXi for around 5 USD. It is an amazing trip with a wonderful light show. You will see ads for it along the Bund.
3. Take care on the Bund – avoid people who come up to you looking for assistance (you’re the tourist right?) or who want to take their photo with you. I know this sounds flattering but it’s just a ruse. Be careful.
4. Business-men Smoke – unlike other countries, many people still smoke in business environments, though it is getting phased out. If you arrange a meeting with a Chinese businessman, don’t take him to a Western restaurant/hotel where he can’t smoke. Find somewhere that he is more comfortable in. otherwise the deal is off before you start.
See also: Global Awareness and Cultural Sensitivity Strategies for Western Technical Communicators
5. Xrays in the Metro – most all metro stations have xray machines to check luggage. Just be careful that your laptop is not damaged going through or that your film etc gets ruined. It’s unlikely but be careful.
6. Wifi – you can get wifi in many coffee shops, especially near Pudong, but you often have to ask for the password to access the network.
7. Travel Card – if you’re staying for more than a week, get a network card. You can use this on the metro, bus and in most taxis. This means you have to carry less cash with you and spend less time standing in queues.
8. Metro City – this is the IT shopping centre (PuXi) and has Best Buy and other western shops on the same street.
9. Learn to Haggle – in most of Asia, it’s expected to do some haggling so don’t take it personal. If they ask for 100, I offer 30. They look horrified, we haggle a bit, and finally settle on about 60.
10. Chop sticks – unless you’re staying at the Hyatt etc, learn to use chop-sticks. Most places don’t have knives and forks. It takes 30 min to learn how to use chopsticks. Ask a local; practise with peanuts. It’s the only way.
11. Expo 2010 – road works are everywhere, so try to stay away from the Bund (PuXi side especially) as this is under heavy re-development.
Remember Shanghai is not Beijing and Beijing is not Hong Kong…
What have I missed?
If you’re traveling to Shanghai soon and have a question, add it below.

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