Ukraine is a Slavic country in the Eastern Europe. Ukrainians are mostly orthodox, where the biggest part is Ukrainian Orthodox Church and a smaller Russian orthodox church. Main features created by centuries in mentality are: patience, reticence, closeness, persistence, cunning and love to food and alcohol. Old generation is quite religious, but due to the soviet war against church people do not quite understand and follow orthodox traditions, but they pray. Younger generation is less religious and more realistic. Ukrainian cultural dimensions are power distance, individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, long term orientation and indulgence.As we can see, the power distance is extremely high, which basically means, that there is a huge gap between less and more powerful people. The status in the society plays a big role.
Relatively low score on individualism shows that society, friends, family, neighbors are very important in the everyday life of Ukrainian person. Relationships are important for trust and ages of history learnt these people, they can’t trust anyone until they know this person good. It is an important point in international relations for the proper data exchange.
Low masculinity score refers to equality in communication with each other, when it doesn’t matter whether it is authority person or not. People are the same mostly with everyone. This creates a contrast with high power distance, but the longtime of life spent under the soviet regime stated in minds that everyone is equal, but at the same moment there are people on the top, who have power to do almost whatever they want.
Ukraine has a very high score of uncertainty avoidance, which indicates the real fear of changes. Ukrainians are afraid to change something until they are not 100% sure about it. Unpredictive situations is a nightmare for most. It became a bit better after revolution 2014/2015 and younger generation feels more freedom and does not afraid about changes that much.
Long term orientation score shows mostly that people oriented on the long-term relationships. Even if the person may see on the first view not interesting or useless, it will be important save connections with him or she to benefit from it in the future.
Low indulgence score shows that Ukrainians have tendencies to cynicism and pessimism. People mostly think about work and how to earn more money, than about leisure, but in case of business deals it is all the way around and good time spent together with the potential partner creates good relations for the future deal.
China is one of the biggest countries in the eastern Asia with one of the biggest economies in the world. It is a world biggest producer of goods. Chinese have a very broad and deep culture. Population is about 1.4 billion and there are so many different demographic groups speaking different languages, having different religions. As China is a communist country, officially nation is atheist, but religion is not illegal and quarter of population practice Taoism and Confucianism, other smaller parts practice Buddhism, Islam and Christianity. All other religions are illegal. Chinese people can be described as very hard working, open, sociable, cunning. Before coming to China with the business deal, person should know, that most of the people do not speak English or any other language and more likely you will need translator.
China has a high level of power distance with the score of 80. Chinese normally accept differences in society and agree to be influenced by high powerful part of this society.
Chinese are very collectivist people. They mostly think in the interest of the group instead some personal needs. This makes family and friends very important for persons. At the same moment relationship with colleagues is totally different. They are cold and mostly related with work and nothing more.
66 at masculinity score shows that Chinese are hard-working, as was mentioned before. They would prefer family and friends to working extra hours or to stay so late in the evening. Career goals or money (depending on situation) are very important in their life.
China has a relatively low score of uncertainty avoidance. Chinese are flexible to “surprises” in their lives and culture with laws support this situation. Ambiguities are even a part of Chinese culture. People are born and learnt with the meaning of it in the life.
High long-term orientation score discovers Chinese as very pragmatic people. Everything depends on situation, time and context. They are very adaptable to the changes in traditions to achieve needed result.
In case of indulgence score, China is close to Ukraine. According to the current situation and divided society on different layers Chinese mostly have tendency to cynicism and pessimism. Persons care about social norms and meanings about what is right and what is wrong.
Cultural problems that Ukraine and China will face doing business with each other
Normal business process is going from both sides. So, both sides should compromise and understand that they are different from each other and what one side think is totally acceptable, another side might see it wild. That is why it is important to be prepared to cultural challenges on the meetings in different countries.
First of all, both sides Ukrainian and Chinese should be prepared to language challenges. Ukrainians speak Ukrainian and Russian languages, young generation can speak English on the basic level, while older generation most probably does not speak English. Chinese is unpopular language at all. Chinese businessmen will need to hire translator to communicate normally in this country. It is the same in the opposite way. Chinese mostly don’t speak any languages except Chinese and the same as in Ukraine with an older generation. So, Ukrainian businessmen will also need a translator for the comfortable trip.
Then, if we look in the Hofstede cultural dimensions, both cultures might face differences in Masculinity, uncertainty Avoidance and long-term orientation. Other dimensions are more less have the same points. Masculinity differences of both countries create a good combination for the positive result. Ukrainians will easily communicate with representatives of China, while Chinese can easier achieve what they want. Negotiation process becomes comfortable for both sides which creates a good foundation for the future deal. There is a challenge in uncertainty avoidance. Ukrainians will want to control all processes from negotiation to finished goods or services. This culture accepts situations only when everything is going how it should go and any mistake like product defect will make them angry and increase the control over the process even more. While Chinese do not like this, something unpredictable is normal in their lives and mistake is not a big issue. In this situation Chinese should be more serious and prepared, otherwise there is almost no way of doing business together.
Negotiation processes are different in these countries but have some similarities. There are simple rules from both sides like be prepared, be on time and be smart looking. The main difference is when the first meeting comes. Hand shaking is very important for Ukrainians in negotiations and every day life. Building personal relationships is the base in negotiation process for both sides, but there is different process of getting this “trust” in these cultures. Over hospitality of Ukrainians may be challenging for Chinese. Some important points of the deal will most probably be discussed, but Ukrainians are very closed people and will not share important information before they will start trust the person. That is why first meeting can end up with nothing and move to a different more comfortable place, where person will make the decision either to trust or not. That is why Chinese should be prepared for more than one meeting when they come to Ukraine. In this case Chinese make the decision about trust on the meeting. They would like to have more constructive talk and achieve their goals on the first meeting. More comfortable place such as restaurant will be no more than a conclusion of negotiation process.
The last and not nice thing which Chinese will meet is corruption. Ukrainian corruption level is extremely high, bribery is in all spheres of life. Ukrainians can ask to cheat somewhere in the deal to reduce the tax or save more money or there can be a situation, when Chinese representor will need to give a bribe. In China it is not an issue because Chines government is fighting hard against corruption and it became very dangerous to give a bribe.
Ukraine and China at first glance it may seem to be so different countries, but, in the way of doing business these countries have enough similarities. They follow the same rules as dress code and punctuality. These are cultures with the high power distance, mostly collectivist and with the low indulgence. Personal relations are on the main place, different the way of getting the trust in these relations, which does not seem to be a big issue. The main issue is unpredictive moments, Ukrainians become very angry when something wrong happens, while for Chinese unpredictive moments is a part of culture. Other cultural differences might create good combination for the successful business.