I frequently travel while doing business in China. The US clients flying with me take this journey to connect with representatives of Chinese companies face to face. These trips, however, ever so often involve some of them getting sick. Whether it’s a food, bad weather or pollution, illness can affect their performance during a visit. To avoid that happening to you, please take a few precautions when travelling to China:
4 things you need to pay attention to when doing business in China
- What’s on your plate?
The first rule of travelling to oriental country is to be restrained with your food. Or to be precise with the places you pick to dine. General advice is to eat only in the bigger hotels and avoid experimenting. I understand, you want to try all that’s on offer, but visitors tend to forget that when it comes to food China offers different standards.
Take seafood – it’s now common to find sushi bars across US, yet they all serve local fish. The raw fish found in China can come from various regions. Same goes with dairy products – the different fermentation process means the product can be harmful to your stomach.
My tip: dine in a hotel you are staying at. Top quality hotels generally serve imported foods tolerated by all international travellers. If you decide to go out, ask your work colleagues for recommended eateries.
- What’s in the air?
I still remember vividly my recent trip to Shanghai. I decided to go for a short stroll after a heavy rain – it was blissful. Yet shortly after returning to the hotel, I started coughing uncontrollably. Few days later I was unable to form even a short sentence without paralyzing cough. I realized that my lungs were more accustomed to Californian air which is different to a Chinese one.
My tip: stay indoors as much as you can. Many cities, as of late, received a Red Alert warning regarding the air quality. Most of the modern hotels, however, are now obliged to fit air purifiers as part of China business strategy.
- How do you sleep?
You want to fit as much as possible in your schedule while doing business in China – and your days are packed. But, that can also cause a sickness. You see – if you are tired and don’t sleep well, your body lacks energy to fight viruses. Your immune system guards are down making it easy to get ill.
My tip: be sensible, and allow at least 5-6 hours for a restful sleep.
- What not to wear?
It’s a cold country – very cold. On their recent visit to China my consulting clients packed only light clothing. It turned out to be 4F. They hoped to stay indoors during the trip, but our schedules changed and we ended up seeing Tiananmen Square. Some of them were unfortunate enough to get sick the very next day and had to fly to Shanghai.
My tip: pack clothes for any weather condition.
China is a vast and varied country. The cuisine is fascinating and it’s understandable to want to try everything while you’re here. Therefore if you plan on doing business in China, pack not only common sense, but also stomach tablets and sensible clothes.
Casey W. Xiao-Morris is China Business Consultant at Leverage China, LLC, specializing in capturing China’s market opportunities for American companies. Casey can be reached at cxmorris@LeverageChina.com