Doing business in China from a cross-cultural perspective : Key differences and common mistakes

Flyer Doing business in China from a cross-cultural perspective

More and more Swiss firms are setting up local manufacturing units, R&D centres and regional HQs in Asia, in addition to exporting. China is a key market for Swiss and European companies. However, succeeding in China requires acknowledging and successful dealing with differences in terms of relationships with employees, competitors, customers and the government, and overcoming challenges such as attracting and retaining talent or finding reliable business partners. And, a lack of awareness of how Chinese and European cultures differ in leadership styles, HRM, marketing and strategy practices could lead to many mistakes and missed opportunities.

The conference brings together a panel of executives and academics to discuss the key differences and common mistakes that European firms are making in China. They will share their insights and provide best practices for effective collaboration, communication and trust-building effective. Buhler’s successes and challenges in China will be featured. During the conference the participants will receive insights into some of the questions that are critical to be successful in China, specifically:

  • In what ways does cultural awareness impact commercial success?
  • What is the appropriate communication approach to build and maintain trust?
  • How can leadership influence attracting and retaining Chinese talent?

The conference is related to the project on Sino-Western M&As and financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation:

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About the “Intercultural Management” Group at HEIG-VD

As a multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary team, our aim is to enable managers, engineers and entrepreneurs to connect and collaborate across cultures to create social and economic value. Our area of expertise is intercultural management in the context of emerging markets and namely cross-border mergers and acquisitions, headquarters - subsidiary relationships, internationalization of SMEs and startups, and international entrepreneurship development.


8:30 a.m. - Reception and registration

9:00 a.m. - Opening session

  • Prof. Dr. Anna Lupina-Wegener, HEIG-VD
  • Prof. Dr. Rolf van Dick, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany

09:20 a.m. - 10:10 a.m. - Buhler’s experiences in China: successes and challenges

  • Mr. Dieter Voegtli, President Global Operations, Uzwil, Switzerland
  • Ms. Connie He, Vice President HR, Wuxi, China

10:10 a.m. – 10:25 a.m. – Key differences and common mistakes

  • Prof. Dr. Gangfeng Zhang, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China

10:25 a.m. – 10:35 a.m. - Evidence from research: Chinese executives’ views on R&D collaborations after an acquisition in Europe

  • Ms. Shuang Liang, HEIG-VD
  • Prof. Dr. Anna Lupina-Wegener, HEIG-VD
  • Prof. Dr. Johannes Ullrich, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • Prof. Dr. Rolf van Dick, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany

10:35 a.m. -11:20 a.m. Round table

  • Moderated by Dr. Güldem Karamustafa, HEIG-VD

11:20 a.m. Q&As


  • Prof. Dr. Johannes Ullrich, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Cocktail reception


Version française : Etant donné le contexte lié au COVID-19, la conférence est reprogrammée pour une date ultérieure qui sera communiquée en juin. Nous vous remercions pour votre compréhension.

English version: Due to COVID-19, the conference is rescheduled for a later date. We will communicate the new date in June. Thank you for your understanding.

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