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Last updated : Nov 2009
Beijing Business Profile
Beijing Business Overview - TravelPuppy.com
Beijing Economy

China’s economy is doing reasonably well despite the decline elsewhere in East Asia, which has had little effect on business here. In the first few months of 2001 Beijing’s Gross Domestic Product grew by 8.1% continuing on from the significant growth of the previous year. Much of this is due to to the Chinese spending more money on housing and transportation. Retail sales have also risen during the same period – by 10.3% The effect of China’s entry into the World Trade Organisation (WTO) at the end of 2001 has yet to be analyzed. It took 15 years of talks for China to be accepted into the WTO allowing it access to lucrative global markets, as well as opening up its own markets to outside investment. In the short term, there could be rampant unemployment as the government discontinues its protectionism of its state-run industries and hones their competitive edge, which has already increased profits. In the long term, more jobs might be created as foreign companies invest in China, no longer experiencing the annoyance of years of red tape and unpredictable profits.

Many regions of China, particularly in the western and central areas, are struggling (often with grave human consequences) to conform to the demands of the market economy established by the government in the 1980s however, Beijing continues to lead the country both politically and economically. A major factor in Beijing’s persistent prosperity is the city’s IT and telecommunications industry, which is the most advanced in China: an infrastructure of over one million km of optic fibre within the city serves approximately six million local telephone subscribers.

One cause for the foreign business presence in Beijing is that it is a major starting point into China for foreign investors. The extensive list of premier international companies operating in Beijing includes Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, IBM, Motorola and Fujitsu. Shanghai and Shenzhen may have China’s most lucrative stock markets, however, since all political directives continue to originate from the capital, it is logical for overseas companies to be close to the centre of Chinese power in order to have access to the major policy-makers and planners of the economy. Large international insurance firms, such as Sun Life Assurance, are presently exploring China with interest.

The Chinese estimate that 3.6% of Beijing’s seven million strong workforce is unemployed, but, this figure does not consider the city’s rural migrants or those out of work but still on the payroll of state-owned companies. Independent analysts report that if these workers are taken into account, the real number of unemployed is around 10% of the workforce or up to 700,000.

Beijing’s major business districts are Chongwen in the east, near the China World Trade Centre; and Wangfujing, just east of Tiananmen Square, which is the location of the Bank of China and the Xindongan Plaza, Beijing’s first indoor shopping mall.

Business Etiquette

Infinite patience is the key when conducting business in China. To many foreign businesspeople, the protracted niceties at the start of each meeting, the long negotiations where every minor detail is discussed at length and the apparent reluctance to complete the deal can be extremely frustrating. The only way to handle this is to allow lots of time for negotiations and discussion to ensure that every vital condition is included in the contract as the Chinese will strictly adhere to it once business has been concluded.

Chinese businesspeople tend to be very formal and a smart, sober suit is a must, as well as the obligatory exchanging of business cards. When exchanging business cards, the polite way is to use both hands to do so. Cards should include English on one side and Chinese on the other. The person who initiates the invitation pays the bill for business meals. When visiting a business associate’s home, a modest gift, such as any kind of flowers or chocolates, is appropriate; avoid giving expensive gifts and giving money will be considered an insult.

Business hours are normally 08:00-17:00 weekdays, with one or two hour lunch breaks.

There is a monthly magazine businesspeople visiting Beijing will find interesting;Business Beijing
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Business Beijing information about business and trade in Beijing