Recently, I found a book The Chinese Negotiator: How to succeed in the world’s largest market, by the author of The Japanese Negotiator. The book talks about lots of strategies, with a chapter about the Thirty-Six Stratagems used in ancient wars in China.
While it is interesting to read these strategies, it is also necessary to understand that most of these ancient strategies have become set phrases with negative meanings in modern China.
In my years working in business in China, I participated many international negotiations. I have seen some difficult situations during negotiations as well. In my view, the most important strategy, if we must have one, is simply two words, “mutual benefits”.
Most of the tough moments happened when the negotiators forgot these two words. Cooperation without mutual benefits won’t last long. Mutual benefits requires efforts from both parties, and it is very important to pay attention to what the Chinese partner ask for, as it might be vital to the success in Chinese market.
Therefore, the concern better be how to build win-win cooperation, rather than how to win in the negotiation.