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


Date :
Friday 13 March, 8:30am-12:30 pm, followed by aperitif

Venue :
Chambre vaudoise du commerce et de l'industrie (CVCI), Avenue d'Ouchy 47, 1006 Lausanne

Inscriptions :
Free entrance but registration required (deadline : March 10th)


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 tackling 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 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 to make 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.


(subject to change)

8:30 a.m. - Reception and registration

9:00 a.m. - Opening session

  • Prof. Dr. Anna Lupina-Wegener, HEIG-VD

09:10 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

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

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

  • Moderated by Dr. Guldem Karamustafa, HEIG-VD

11:20 p.m. Q&As


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

Registration Form

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