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Chinese Culture in a Cross-Cultural Comparison

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Michael B. Hinner

Chinese culture has a very long and extraordinary tradition. With China’s rapid economic growth and a population of more than one billion people, China has become a very important market for many companies. In order to conduct business in a particular country, it is necessary to also understand the culture of that country. After all, culture influences people’s behavior and communication – also in the world of business. That is why an understanding of a country’s culture is crucial when communicating with all relevant stakeholders including its consumers, businesses, employees, and government authorities. This eighth volume of the Freiberger Beiträge seeks to provide some essential insights into Chinese culture to help improve transactions and relationships with Chinese stakeholders. The contributing authors help explain the various facets of Chinese culture revolving around communication, business negotiations, and conflict management.
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On the Chinese Traditional Acceptance of Information from the View of Contemporary Communication Theory

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By Peiren Shao

Peiren Shao looks at how information is accepted in Chinese culture with the help of ancient Chinese rhetorical traditions. In the past, it was believed that humans are humans because they use language. So the deliberate and careful use of language is important in persuading people to accept information. In traditional Chinese culture, many concepts and words are associated with information acceptance. These words can be clustered into three categories: Vision, sound, and taste, Shao notes.

Information has to be admired to be accepted, so the aesthetics of language are very important to Chinese audiences. The information is accepted via consolidation and with integrity which will allow one to process information without diverted through numerous and disorderly pieces of information. In other words, the message has to be succinct and to the point. For anyone familiar with the work of Edward T. Hall, this sounds very much like high context communication which Hall associates with Chinese communication. German or U.S. American communication, in contrast, is said to be low context. This means, that Germans and Americans run the risk of communicating too many words which will irritate Chinese audiences and, thus, not sway them to accept the transmitted message. So it is imperative for German and Chinese communicators to adapt their low context messages to the high context Chinese culture.

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