How to overcome language and cultural barriers when dealing with Chinese glass bottle suppliers

How to overcome language and cultural barriers when dealing with Chinese glass bottle suppliers

How to overcome language and cultural barriers when dealing with Chinese glass bottle suppliers

You are looking for Chinese glass bottle suppliers to start your perfume business. What is stopping you is the interaction barrier. You do not know how to interact with Chinese glass bottle suppliers. You are not familiar with the Chinese business culture. The Chinese language is completely unknown to you.

What will you do?

Will you stop your business?


You will learn the fundamental principles of communication with Chinese glass bottle suppliers and the basics of Chinese business culture.

This blog is the most comprehensive guide to effectively dealing with Chinese glass bottle suppliers. It will help you understand Chinese business culture and make successful business deals with Chinese glass bottle suppliers.

Understanding the Challenge of language and cultural barriers

Diversity of Chinese Language

China has a huge diversity of languages. Even for people living in China, communication is a bit challenging because of the prevalence of various languages. These include Shanghainese, Cantonese, and Hokkien. Simplified Chinese, i.e., Mandarin, is not a widely used communication medium.

Understanding the language landscape is important before doing business in China. Without breaking the language barrier, you can never do business in China.

The existence of diverse ethnic groups and territorial expansion are the reasons behind China’s language diversity. According to a world resource, China has almost 281 individual languages. Gosh, that’s huge!

Chinese is a unique language. It is the only language without an alphabet. Each word of the Chinese language represents a syllabary of spoken Chinese. That is why the Chinese language is considered to be “logo syllabic.”

Chinese Business Culture

The Chinese culture is very diverse. If you want to do business in Chinese culture, you must understand Chinese cultural sensitivity. You must know:

  • There is only a vertical hierarchy in China, not a horizontal hierarchy. Chinese people respect hierarchy in their culture, and this concept is followed both in private life and in business.
  • You must understand the concept of face-saving in Chinese business culture. The face-saving culture is crucial for the protection of an individual’s reputation.
  • The decision-making process in China is very complicated. The Chinese do not make decisions easily. They finalize a decision after several meetings and discussions.
  • Hiring an intermediary is a favorable process for people unfamiliar with Chinese business culture. Intermediaries help establish rapport between the two parties.
  • The Chinese value punctuality highly. You must be on time for meetings. If you are delayed, you should inform the manager. Not informing the manager about the delay is considered to be disrespectful.
  • Exchanging gifts is considered a good gesture. It is an indication of establishing a strong business relationship.
  • Learn some basic words in the Chinese language and try using them, especially during the first interaction. This will impress your business partner.

Practical tips to overcome the language and cultural barriers with Chinese Glass Bottle Suppliers

Hire a Translator

Hiring a translator who translates English to Chinese and vice versa is the most common solution to overcome the language barrier. If you are a perfume brand looking to negotiate with Chinese glass bottle suppliers, you can hire a translator.

Finding a translator is not the issue. Finding the right translator is. The right translator effectively communicates your intention to the supplier and conveys the Chinese glass bottle supplier’s message.

Effective communication of language between both parties is essential for clear business negotiations. In China, finding the right translator is a big challenge.

Although there are many online platforms to hire a translator, the probability that you will find an effective translator is not high. It is very difficult to trust a stranger.

You can overcome this Challenge with a useful strategy. The strategy is to employ an experienced transport company with fluent English-speaking drivers. This will help you solve two problems simultaneously, namely finding a driver and a translator.

Understand the Chinese Business Culture

It is important to do research before contacting Chinese glass bottle suppliers. The research should be based on Chinese business culture. You should have ample knowledge about the appreciation of certain gestures in Chinese culture.

Each culture has unique etiquette, customs, and communication styles. Certain gestures might be acceptable in one culture but prohibited in another. The same is true of Chinese culture.

The “ke yi” Social Culture

A unique example of understanding Chinese business culture is the “ke yi” phenomenon. In Chinese business culture, nobody says “no”. Instead, they say “ke yi,” which means “can do.” Either they will say a straight yes or ke yi but never a no.

Chinese believe that saying no will negatively impact their social status. Therefore, they are raised never to say no. Especially in business scenarios, they never use no. If a Chinese glass bottle supplier wants to refuse your order, he will probably reply with “ke yi” and not a no.

Use Clear Channels for Communication

Using clear communication channels is crucial. This is important in all business negotiations, not just with a Chinese glass bottle supplier. Unclear communication channels can lead to misinterpretation of the message. The probability of the message being lost in translation increases.

When dealing with Chinese suppliers, it is better not to use complex words and sentences. You should also avoid slang and idioms, as these can lead to misinterpretation of the message.

Effective message communication should be precise and clear. Use short sentences and easy words. Make sure that your message is easy for the other party to understand.

Make Use of Software and Apps

Technology these days has made everything quite easy. It has also helped diminish language barriers. Several language software and apps can translate your language to Chinese. You can use these tools to have proper conversations with your Chinese glass bottle supplier.

You can also use these software and apps to translate Chinese documents, emails, and messages into your language. WeChat is a popular app that many foreign clients use to communicate with Chinese suppliers. Another effective translation tool to overcome the language barrier is “Google”.

An exceptional feature of Google Translate is that, along with translation, it also helps in the proper pronunciation of a particular word.

Bi-Lingual Documentation

When dealing with Chinese glass bottle suppliers, you must have many documents. These documents include:

  • Product specifications
  • Contracts
  • Invoices
  • Shipping instructions

Make sure that the documentation is available in both English and Chinese. This helps ensure a clear understanding on both sides. Failure to communicate effectively regarding documentation can lead to costly errors.

A major advantage of bilingual documentation is that both parties get clear expectations from each other. The Chinese glass bottle supplier knows what the customer expects regarding product specifications and orders.

The customer, on the other hand, understands what and when he is going to get the order delivered.

Take Basic Language Training

Especially for China, where English is not understandable at all, it is better to take basic Chinese language training. This will help the clients understand the basics of the language at least.

Chinese is a complex language, and it is not easy to become fluent in it. However, you can take a basic language course before visiting the country. This will help you to better communicate with Chinese glass bottle suppliers.

Basic language understanding helps build a good rapport with the supplier. This lets the Chinese supplier know you are serious about doing business. After all, who is interested in learning a foreign language if they are not serious about the business?

Take Assistance of Local Intermediaries

In China, you contact local people who act as representatives. These individuals intermediate the conversations and negotiations between Chinese glass bottle suppliers and foreign clients.

What is the difference between translators and local representatives?

Translators are not part of the business. Their job is just to translate both languages into each other. Local intermediaries have a role in business negotiations as well. They are familiar with the business culture. Intermediaries ensure that both parties have clear expectations through effective communication.

Keep Communication Open

Open communication is the key to a successful business relationship, especially in the case of a language and cultural barrier. In this case, the probability of misunderstanding is great.

It is important that both the Chinese glass bottle supplier and the client remain on board and in touch. They should both reach an agreement on all the proposed terms.

If you are a client doing business in China, don’t forget to conduct regular performance reviews. If you have any doubts then discuss and clear them with your supplier.

Doing this will reduce the chances of any misunderstanding and errors between you and the Chinese glass bottle supplier.


The Chinese business culture and language are not easy to understand. However, learning some basic rules of both can help you make successful business deals. Operating in the Chinese business environment requires a basic understanding of the language and culture.

Hiring intermediaries makes the whole process smooth for both parties. Following some basic rules and understanding can save both parties from errors and misunderstandings in the future.