Chinese work culture

Chinese working culture is very different from Western working culture. There is almost no confrontation and never from subordinate to superior. Problems with projects can occur due to misunderstanding, not only the language but also not enough clear instructions. Because Chinese avoid confrontation, subordinate worker wont ask for additional instructions, even though he doesn’t understand what is expected of him.

When errors on project occur, subordinate takes full responsibility, regardless on who is actually responsible. Even when subordinate knows, that his boss is making huge mistake on the project, he will not tell usually to avoid confrontation, because boss is always right.

Chinese companies have the “sleeping working culture”, meaning that in some companies workers will go to sleep for an hour or two after the lunch. It is also acceptable, that some companies allow short naps in work place during the work time.

Working efficiency is usually not as good as in Western companies. Because of unclear communication it is acceptable that same task gets repeated multiple times.

Simple example is when somebody goes to the shop, customers in the West will usually be left alone, to view and decide which products he wants to buy, whereas in China they will shout out loud which products are in promotion over and over again. It is not uncommon that in some stores they even record couple of promotional sentences and then play it through the megaphone all day long.

So, one can imagine easier, that Chinese are used of hearing to do same task over and over again. “Who doesn’t repeat same thing over and over again, apparently doesn’t mean real business mentality.”

New employees don’t stay with the first company for larger period of time usually.


Chinese have only couple of days annually for free-to-choose days, other holiday time is almost always during national holidays and ceremonies. So almost all employees go on holidays during Spring Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Qingming, Mid Autum and National Day.

Overtime work

Employees will normally work overtime without big issues, however overtime working hours get compounded and later they join over time working hours with some of the holidays mentioned above.


Chinese expect bonus payment during Chinese New year (Spring Festival), which is end of January or beginning of February. They expect that company will pay certain amount of bonus.

Most jobs are available in that time (in February), immediately after Spring Festival. Employees wait for their bonuses and after they get paid they get employment elsewhere.

Representative office can’t employ Chinese directly, but it needs to go through agencies, which is a big Con, comparing to WFOE companies.

According to Chinese law, companies must pay N+1 severance package in case of laying off workers, with N being number of years of employment.


When Western company employs management team it has to be careful to employ either Western management, or Chinese management with experience in the West. This way vision and communication will be much more efficient, unlike if Western company employs Chinese management team only.

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  1. Live and work in China – MaxOffshore

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