Given China's enormous, fast-growing economy and the fact that its business culture is dramatically different than that of the U.S., it's smart to explore what is working for China, and consider bringing those strategies to your own business.
Here are five of the most useful business tactics from China to examine now.
Consider the future.
China has heavily invested in industries that its business leaders believe will be key to the future.
Not only has the nation been the leader in the worldwide robotic market since 2013, according to the International Federation of Robotics, but it's continuing to increase those holdings. Chinese companies jumped from 25 percent market share in 2013 to 31 percent by 2016 and are predicted to reach a 40 percent market share by 2020.
China also aims to be the worldwide leader in AI by 2030. Consequently, the country has been making serious investments in this field, including the development of a $2.1 billion technology park in Beijing, according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
This huge investment in the future can be applied to your business, too. Despite how hectic things feel day-to-day, it's crucial to find the time to adequately prepare for future changes. Otherwise, your company will not keep up with the tide of innovation.
Teach lessons through conflict management.
One study published on Emerald Insight found that Chinese managers often handle conflict by embarrassing the employee to teach a moral lesson, instead of the common American response where hostility and vengefulness are common themes.
Putting others down and employing shame is probably not the best management style in the U.S. It might also feel unnatural to take entrepreneurial advice from a country that enjoys fewer freedoms than many others. However, keep an open mind. Benefits can come from managerial attempts to teach moral lessons.
It's all too easy to overlook our moral obligations in business. Teaching and practicing a strong ethical code create a healthier and more effective culture for all.
Focusing on not only tackling the single issue that caused the conflict, but trying to teach a lesson moving forward, and tying it to morals, can be an effective tactic to avoid the problem in the future and support your employees to be both better workers and citizens.
China thinks "big" in many senses of the word. Its goal to dominate the global economy. Its push to be the global A.I. leader and its emergence in the field of robotics are just a few examples of the scale of China's plans.
You can do the same in your business. You'll never be able to reach a dominant position in your industry by thinking and playing on a small scale. Embrace ambition and innovation to distinguish your business from a crowded market.
It might seem intimidating to embrace and pursue large-scale plans, but thinking big leads to massive success and impact.
A 2017 Gallup study found only 41 percent of American employees strongly agree they know what their company stands for and how it stands out from competitors. In that same study, Gallup found that a 10 percent increase in an employee's connection with your company mission leads to a 12.7 percent reduction in safety incidents, an 8.1 percent decrease in turnover, and a 4.4 percent increase in profitability.
Chinese businesses often excel in this regard. The Social Behavior and Personality Journal published a 2017 study that concluded collectivism, or prioritizing the group over the individual, is strongly rooted in Chinese culture.
Studying Chinese collectivism, and what Chinese businesses do to build employee loyalty and trust, can help you create a culture of mission-driven, intrinsically-rewarding work.
Invest in renewable energy.
China leads the world in renewable energy investments, according to the UN Environment Programme. This not only demonstrates a commitment to the future, but is also directly responsible for creating numerous jobs through its projects.
China's example demonstrates clearly that you can continue to grow while still being environmentally thoughtful and sensitive. Adopting this environmental focus can also have a dramatic and positive effect on your customers.
Unilever found that 78 percent of people in the US say they feel better buying products that are sustainably produced, and 21 percent of consumers say they'll go out of their way to buy from sustainable brands. Following China's lead by investing in sustainability is a win for your business as well as for the environment.