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Cultural difference in business | Valerie Hoeks | TEDxHaarlem

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This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. One of the elements of the cultural difference between Europe and China is the importance that is given to relationships. In the West you would assume the importance to be the same, but there is a significant distinction. In China connections with the right people help you to get things done, to survive and to succeed. Whereas in the West content is predominant, in China the way people interact with each other strongly influences the working environment. 'Face' and long-term effects are taken into consideration. Valérie Hoeks (1982) studied Sinology at the Leiden University and has been active in China for over a decade as a traveller, a student and later as an entrepreneur. As soon as she set foot on Chinese soil she knew she would come back many times. In 2010 Valérie co-founded China Inroads in collaboration with with her Dutch and Chinese business partner. China Inroads provides a strong foothold for innovative companies that want to expand their business to the Chinese market. About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)
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Text Comments (112)
Xiao Fan (3 months ago)
Very impressive video. But if I were the presenter, I would focus my examples more on how exactly the cultural difference changed the way business works, rather than explain the stereotypes. The presenter shifts the topic a little bit.
李斯基 (3 months ago)
YOU say Chinese language wrong ,what Confucius said is not accurately ,it's "有朋自远方来,不亦乐乎“.
mi sz (3 months ago)
This is a bit useless or the description is wrong
Fereshteh Z (3 months ago)
misleading title, where did she talk about biz??!!
Cristina Rivera (4 months ago)
"Chinese are extremely lazy" said no one ever lol. I don't know why she thought people would assume that. I thought a common understanding is that the Chinese are the most hardworking people in the world, or is that just a stereotype? I seriously doubt tho, working hard is such a huge part of their culture. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Mixtec Jaguar (6 months ago)
Well their society accepts, rudeness.
Nguyễn Viết Đức (6 months ago)
Great thankful appreciation for valuable information focused on Social Cultural Education.
Sinem Acar Burkay (7 months ago)
she's full of arrogance...
manikandan r (8 months ago)
My goal world level business in people communication
shengjun chen (9 months ago)
very good! I'm really impressed!
Duke Nguyen (9 months ago)
She really looks like Loki. Really.
Ivan Yankov (10 months ago)
I have never known a thing that summarizes my people in just 12 mins. Thank you Valerie :')
Grace Liu (1 year ago)
You should learn more and then give the presentation precisely.
Cujo19760210 (1 year ago)
Sirius Pang (1 year ago)
I am a Chinese, but her Mandarin is much better than me, pronounced accurately.
J GRM (1 year ago)
Sorry, isn't supposed about "Cultural difference in business"?.... Hum, something is missing here...   You talked about your experience in China... What's that has to do with "Cultural difference in business"? In fact, you say nothing about Chinese culture, nor doing business in China as American, Canadian, Russian, etc. Dear Columbia Southern University, you sent me here to learn something from this wonderful speech. I can admit to you... This is a "Bu*ll Sh*it" talk ... nothing to do with the title. I wasted 12 minutes and 17 second of my life for nothing.
Hansheng Zhou (1 year ago)
What bothers me is that most people want to compare western culture to other cultures, but they rarely compare non-western cultures among themselves.
Ludwig Tieck (1 year ago)
By the way, for Ms. Hoeks, do you know Alice Weidel? You are so HER.
Ludwig Tieck (1 year ago)
She affected a superior air. When she was stereotyping Chinese, meanwhile she was stereotyping "businessman" as a group, perhaps even TEDx – "X". There are so many "typical Chinese" in China like she described – as many as those "typical westerner" in this world. I believe our users can learn much more from "The Travels of Marco Polo" than from this "well-educated" red, blonde, white, precious Sinology student Ms. Hoeks. :)
Li Qi (1 year ago)
She's speaking the Chinese wrong
Kiara Quetti (1 year ago)
They eat dogs. I remind you that dogs are faithful animals.
Lu Lu (1 year ago)
Have u ever seen that in China? seeing is believing, u have never been in China, right?
Ludwig Tieck (1 year ago)
Do you also believe that all Germans are cannibals?
Sharon Lovering (1 year ago)
Without Valerie's travels to China, this TED talk would not have been created by her to share this information about the people of China and their culture. Thank you for your travels, sharing your experiences and insight into what you saw, how you lived and what you learned. I have always felt that the Chinese live in the moment, and deal with situations as they come. They are much more harmonized than we are in America. I am grateful to have the opportunity to listen to you talk about your experience and offer us encouragement to visit China ourselves. I would love to be among the people China someday to learn about their country, and their culture. Thank you, Valerie.
Patton 160 (1 year ago)
China Culturally Rich, Politically fcked.
Gear5 ZYF (1 year ago)
i don't know what she is talking about.
xuru Meng (1 year ago)
yes, I agree that relationship, actually I think sometimes also happen in Australia, to find a job or other help, while the traffic in Beijing is exactly what she said, but in many other cities like chengdu, its not the same as Beijing. and  I don't think Chinese people are lazy, cos everything is more efficient than foreign like installing internet and transporting online shopping, only take 1 day sometimes
Major (1 year ago)
Sounds like "relationship" is what she only talks about. Very superficial I have to say...
Lu Lu (1 year ago)
Major coz it’s a hard culture to understand
AlphaHD (1 year ago)
china = communism *yup*
Cujo19760210 (1 year ago)
AlphaHD stereotyped!!!
watchingandwaiting (1 year ago)
To be honest, I think it's a little sad because if you live in China, you /have/ to care about what other people think about you. Not saying that the culture doesn't have some great features, but it's hard for me to imagine not having that freedom.
kanlaya thipphawong (1 year ago)
Thanks very interesting👍🌷
Shiree (1 year ago)
kanlaya thipphawong ô
Beth Schaefer (1 year ago)
Yes, interesting presentation. But title is misleading. This is not about cultural differences in business.
David Choi (1 year ago)
Confucianism is that Korea's culture. more close to Korean, not Chinese. anyway. most you are talking about the chinese culture of westerner view, is not in Confucianism anyway.
Lu Lu (1 year ago)
David Choi koreans have no itself cultures except for pickle, I have to say
Jove Pan (1 year ago)
Koreans always feel that everything belongs to you.
popos22 (1 year ago)
like all cultures, it has ups and downs. obviously she didn't live there long enough to really know the difference.
Belgar (2 years ago)
And with bss accomplishments she definitely mean money, money and nothing else. Old frame on evolutionary stop....
Belgar (2 years ago)
Smooth running includes repressed society, what Chinese is. No conflict means never take responsibility or admitting a fault. She will Winn a lot of clients, prove her loyalty with this one sited presentation.
Belgar (2 years ago)
This presenter missed the whole point. Goodness gracious western people! This is culture which is most stubborn to change and almost impossible to evolve. How can one live according to saying of a man 2500 y ago? You must be mad....
K. H (2 years ago)
wow I'm really impressed
J M (2 years ago)
beautyful thank you
Snowtee Shi (2 years ago)
bu yi yue hu.  :)
muhanmudin Vande (2 years ago)
in fact, most chinese would accept go duch in morden time. they dont know fengshui either confucius said respect others and others would resper youself. most chinese are affected by this.
Yana Tan (2 years ago)
why said ''we can 'even' learn from the Chinese?'' the word 'even' made me fell uncomfortable as a Chinese and I think it is not respect.
Duy Anh Nguyen (3 months ago)
Who cares?
BlackJoe23 (5 months ago)
She said that adressing the part of the audience with such preestablished views. fact is most foreign countries are not viewed favourably here. because we fear the unknown and tend to dismiss what we do not know. doesn't make china any lesser.
Sanketh Shetty (9 months ago)
Danqi Yu (2 years ago)
念错了,念成“有朋自远方来,不会乐乎”。。but still, good talk
潘煜民 (2 years ago)
Chinese subway station is not that awful as you said.
J.J Lurker (6 months ago)
@Notorious N well that depends on which city are you in, more specific, which urban area are you in, some stations in beijing like tian tong yuan, its almost like that during rush hour
Wendy Chen (8 months ago)
Even the metro station is that crowded as shown in the talk nowadays
Notorious N (10 months ago)
I think this was back then in 1990s or something.
Tiffany Xia (2 years ago)
I have to say this one is not that good compared to the other TED talks I watched. She thinks she grasps the most critical thing when dealing with Chinese but these are only on the surface. The most sophisticated ones are always subtle. With regards to the loyalty of Chinese, it not only takes time but also efforts. You're more likely to earn others' loyalty if you agree on the basic core values while disagreeing on other less important issues.
Marcin Zabrzanski (2 years ago)
Chill :) 12 minutes - of course it is not going to be comprehensive and extremely deep analysis of the culture of China. It encourages people to search further though, and is meant to introduce the subject on the basic level. Good talk.
ryan mcivor (2 years ago)
100% the worst talk I've ever seen. Slow and boriiinggg
ArcadeMAD (1 year ago)
shes got a nice pair of tits though
ted talks??? more like bullshit talks!! Every person that gives this kind of talks, is always very excited and has lots of solutions for all the problems, worldwide, but then again they do not change anything in the World, they're just talking, to show off how "great" the are!
MikeyMaxu (8 months ago)
Why listen to the Ted talks then? Start with changing yourself instead of commenting on a video you do not agree with in the first place.
Steven Hutting (2 years ago)
Not bad Valerie
Duc Viet Nguyen, Ph.D (2 years ago)
In business, socio-political interaction, building trust and respects are the most importance to avoid conflict. Unfortunately, many consumers took advantage of my kindest, so I cannot be a political leader or a business man. Thank You for valuable video. http://dukevietnguyenhealthresearcher.blogspot.com/
Marcin Klos (2 years ago)
I don't agree that Chinese are loyal in business. I have an experience in doing business with them and I know that they are reckless. They sell the same product to our competitors ( And they tell us that they don't do that). Sometimes they copy our products and sell further So I think, the people are really nice but in business the don't understand normal, simple rules of fair business.
kmusic (1 year ago)
If you are talking about fair then business is not for you....Nothing is fair in that cut throat world.
John Zhang, CFA (2 years ago)
I feel like what's you are talking is that you are Apple, Chinese are Microsoft..
DiAnna Olsen (2 years ago)
What I see is generalizing an entire country for the actions of just a few people . We have very corrupt people in Europe and America but that doesn't make all citizens in Europe or America bad people to do business with. On every continent in every governmental system or private corporation we deal with ethics and corruption; those are individual decisions to act in an unethical way but it does not define an entire society with a sweeping brush.
SilvanaDil (3 years ago)
Um, what respect is being shown to anybody at that Chinese subway station? Where was the harmony?
Gabriel Cox (1 year ago)
You really didn't listen to that speech, did you?
tanaya91 (2 years ago)
The harmony comes from not lashing out at people for pushing and shoving, not complaining about the crowds, etc. But I agree, it's hard to from that example
John Zhang, CFA (2 years ago)
Good discussion.
SilvanaDil (2 years ago)
You won't persuade me, but you have a nice day, too. :-) In the West (I include Japan, etc. in this, too.), people line up, whether there's 1 person in front of you or 1,000.
DiAnna Olsen (2 years ago)
With hundreds of thousands of people in a relatively small space that organizational system would not work very well there. With the high population and hundreds of thousands of people it just simply is not possible with the volume of people. Hence, the people that push more people into the subway to get in. It is a real problem of the city and not a moral issue. If you have to use a subway out of necessity.....then you must deal with the overextended infrastructure . This is not a Chinese moral problem or a disrespect issue, this is a problem with infrastructure that is about to burst because it was not designed to handle the population . I don't know that I will be able to persuade you to see this through another lens, but I thought it important to try. Have a wonderful day .
Sales Kagri (3 years ago)
You peng zi yuan fang lai, bu yi le hu! : To have friends coming in from afar, how delightful!
tianyuan ma (2 years ago)
yue hu
Bob Law (3 years ago)
Joshua Kuhlmeyer (3 years ago)
It seems as if Valerie Hoeks is describing her experiences in China rather than discussing cultural differences in business. All the while she's trying to market China and change people's stereotypes about the country and it's citizens. It discusses almost no information about business other than she is a business partner with some associates in China. She gets off topic about sleeping in a random school for 3 minutes and then continues generalizing the citizens and daily life of the Chinese based off (I'm guessing) one or two visits to the country.
MikeyMaxu (8 months ago)
If you really listen well, you'll hear her talking about the cultural differences. She describes the aspects really well with great examples trough her own experiences in China.
Saira Nikhat (8 months ago)
I agree she is a best storyteller. However, the title suggests that she will speak on Business aspect too. I don't hear her speaking on that.
OF (2 years ago)
Josh, the concept of TEDx Talks is that people share knowledge by telling stories. I don´t have the feeling that Valerie gets off topic. She is following an agenda explaining topics which -in Valerie´s opinion- are important to Chinese people and she illustrating the topics with own experience. However, I enjoyed listening to her. Best OF
Natasel (3 years ago)
+Joshua Kuhlmeyer You want a quality intel report. Get the CIA. You don't like weakass intel, then why the hell are you listening to a hippie on TedX?
Jason Cook (3 years ago)
This woman is a complete Hoeks...
roodles prease (2 years ago)
+John Zhang, CFA . a ho-eks
John Zhang, CFA (2 years ago)
What is Hoeks?
coas3 (3 years ago)
liaison culture business
Las Vegas is a great mix of cultures from all over the world!
John Zhang, CFA (2 years ago)
Greater than Auckland?
Natasel (3 years ago)
+Downtown Zen Magazine lv It USED to be. But since most of the hotels and casinos are owned by corporations (which is actually LESS honorably than the typical Mobster trying to go legit o_O), its basically Adult Disney Land now.
小冷 (3 years ago)
a wonderful speech, the speaker understands Chinese culture quite well! I hope that people under eastern and western cultural background can know more about each other and learn more from each other :)
C Prippit (3 years ago)
I know 12 minutes is not very long, but this seems to have been more a short history of Valerie's travels rather than anything particularly meaningful about cultural differences in business. I would expect, perhaps wrongly, people to expect differences between the 'West' and China, and as a result to do research - it would have been more interesting to hear of Dutch-specific cultural norms which others in the West might not actually expect.
Daniel Ford (1 year ago)
This disagree with this comment. I found this useful.
Gabriel Cox (1 year ago)
I think she meant apply these ideas in business.
Not true. China is not great for an artist with open mind
Victor Chong (2 years ago)
Could be he's sour because he's a muslim :X
Tiffany Xia (2 years ago)
you can't even spell the word rich and you're pointing figures at those who immigrate because they earned it? such irony
China is a huge torture temple. The non-stop emigration of elite and reach Chinese people to Vancouver and the west is good indicator.
Aaron Burooseniya (3 years ago)
+abdullah nasher forEVER i can't agree anymore.this is also why china has no great scientists(get achievement in china) and great companies.and the political culture,it's so creepy
Toni Ellis (3 years ago)
+abdullah nasher forEVER Chinese art is heavily influenced by tradition, so I'm not surprised you feel that way. I don't think that was the same kind of open mind that the speaker was trying to address though.
Jubayer Ahmed (3 years ago)
I read about Guanxi in a WalMart Case...Great video!
Barnie Zhong (3 years ago)
i am a Chinese, i think the speaker know quite well about Chinese culture.
Olivia Young (18 days ago)
燕齐云 (2 months ago)
I am Chinese就可以了,去掉a
jimpozcaner (3 years ago)
+MikeyMaxu That and the fact that she went there and does business with the Chinese.
MikeyMaxu (3 years ago)
+Barnie Zhong That is because she studied Chinese culture at the University Leiden.
Pastor Bill (3 years ago)
Excellent presentation and a great understanding of Western v. Asian cultures.
hept (4 years ago)
This is why i hate my Dutch housemate so much as a Chinese student in Holland.
MMABeijing (4 years ago)
"our world", "their world", "they", "we", "Confucius is alive and kicking" etc... It is hard to talk about cultural differences without ending up just saying  general and shallow stuff, I can say I tried just as hard as the speaker did, and failed as miserably. She drank the cool-aid and push the local concepts (mianzi, he, etc) when really they are universal, nothing special. China is, as any country, special and beautiful. And many country-side people are different from metropolitans, and developing countries have something that developed countries lost. This lecture is stereotypical TED lecture,
Jennifer Kumar (3 years ago)
@MMABeijing These concepts are being discussed on the 'face' level without really knowing what lies below. For instance, while face is universal, how is it different for Chinese than Westerners? What about that situation made the Chinese lose face - from their perspective? Why is it different than what a Westerner may experience? And, how did they actually fix it to save the sentiments of everyone involved? I think, just like when she said it was more interesting to stay in a college hostel than a hotel, describing and telling more of the story of why things happened the way they did so we can really empathize with each other would be more interesting.
Zhu Bajie (4 years ago)
I am glad you are explaining what is so unclear to so many North American and Europeans but seems obvious to me except for the concept of guilt. 面子 is supreme but many times and more so today like westerners how one is being perceived is more important than actions. If not caught all is permissible which is not very 孔夫子 like at all. But he said that the people will reflect the rulers so enough said there.

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