Important cultural differences encountered when doing business in India
- A received present should remain unwrapped until the guests have departed. Unwrapping a gift when received is seen as an act of greediness and impolite.
- In contrary to the Dutch, Indians tend to ask questions about the private life in an initial meeting. This is a way to get to know the other person better on a personal level. Getting straight to business might make them feel inconvenient. Charm, sense of humour, flattery and especially giving compliments can help a lot in forming a good business relationship.
- “Yes” can mean many things in India. Indians do not nod their heads when they agree but will move their chin from left to right making their heads move the same direction. This gesture however can have several implications.
- Punctuality has a different meaning in India; scheduled meetings can easily be delayed because of this.
- Be prepared to discuss even about minor things in business. Indians love to discuss everything; it is advisable to agree on some aspects from time to time to improve the business relationship.
- Doing business in India without any guidance can prove to be a difficult task. A local agent or representative who is familiar with the juridical and financial system of India is highly recommendable. Indian bureaucracy is not something you want to tackle on your own. Besides, local help can be the right connection between the suitable contacts you are looking for.
- In India patience is a valuable skill in doing business. Finding the right partner and negotiating a deal will take more time than you are used to in comparison to The Netherlands. More time needs to be invested in creating a reliable relationship between the companies.
- An Indian will not easily show that he has not understood certain things. Also declining a request is not done in India, you will rarely hear an Indian say no. Clear structured communication is of great essence to avoid having different expectations in this matter.
- The physical space between people in India is much more intimate. It is not uncommon to see two Indian men walking hand in hand in public spaces. In a business meeting for example it can happen that the Indian representative might shake your hand longer than you are used to.
- It is not uncommon in India for clerks to receive an additional payment to speed up certain administrative progresses. Corruption is integrated in many layers of the society in India. Nowadays the problem is getting recognized and measures are being taken to put a hold to this problem.
- More Indians have a cell phone (563 million) than a toilet (366 million)
- The average Indian is 26 years. A staggering 20 years younger than the average Japanese and 10 year younger than an average Chinese.
- Real estate prices in Mumbai and Delhi have more than doubled in the past one and a half year.
- IT outsourcing is India’s most flourishing industry. Generating yearly revenues of approximately 47 billon dollars.
Contact Rutger de Bruijn for more information.
Source (partly): http://www.mt.nl/99/28504/vaardigheden/zakendoen-in-india-vergt-veel-geduld.html