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Business relationships in Japan
Business relationships in Japan are characterized by a well-structured hierarchy and a strong emphasis on nurturing personal contacts. Generally, they are built up over long periods of time or are based on common roots, such as birthplace, school or college. Also, an unusually strong emphasis is placed on social activities to strengthen tics. It is not surprising, therefore, that those looking in from the outside may see the Japanese business world as comparatively hard to break into. In fact, there are many different kinds of business relationships, but most share two features — they have been built up slowly and carefully, and much time is spent in keeping them up to date.
Business relationships in Japan arc part of an ever-broadening circle that starts within the company (uchi — inside, or«us»), and moves towards the outside (soto) to include related companies, industry or business organizations, and the like.
Most Japanese companies have a series of very close relationships with a number of other companies that provide them with support and a multitude of services. It has been traditional practice for a company to hold shares in these «related» companies, a practice which has given rise to a high proportion of corporate cross-share holdings in Japan. This has been a show of faith on the part of one company towards another, and also has been useful in providing companies with a core of stable and friendly shareholders.
When dealing with a Japanese company, it is important to be aware of the existence and nature of some of these close relationships, in particular those with banks and trading companies. Understanding these can help to define the nature of the company and the way it does business, as well as its positioning in the Japanese business world. It should also be understood that there is a constant flow of information between Japanese enterprises and their banks and trading companies. Unless the need for confidentiality is made very clear, these may soon be aware of any negotiations in which the company is involved.
Larger corporate groupings are becoming more familiar to non-Japanese business circles. These groupings are known as keiretsu, and some have their roots in the large pre-World War II conglomerates. Accusations of keiretsu favoritism overriding more attractive outside offers sometimes are leveled at Japanese companies. When asked about this practice by a foreign businessman, the president of a large Japanese electronics company replied: «It's like going to the tailor your father went to. He may be more expensive than the competition and perhaps even not the best, but he has served your family well for many years and you feel duty bound to remain a faithful customer.» There is a tendency in Japanese business to be guided by the familiar and human considerations, and thus it is important for anyone wishing to do business in Japan to go a major part of the way in establishing a communications network and a real presence.
Business Negotiations & Meeting Etiquette
Face to face contact is essential in conducting business. It is more effective to initiate contact through a personal visit (set up by an introduction through an intermediary) than through correspondence. Initial contacts are usually formal meetings between top executives; more detailed negotiations may be carried out later by those who will be directly involved. During the first meeting, you get acquainted and communicate your broad interests; you size each other up and make decisions on whether ongoing discussions are worthwhile. At this point you should not spell out details or expect to do any negotiating. Exchange business cards (meishi) at the beginning of the meeting. The traditional greeting is the bow. Many Japanese businessmen who deal with foreign companies also use the handshake. If you bow, then you should bow as low and as long as the other person, to signify your humility. First names are not usually used in a business context. In Japan, the family name is given last, as in English. You should address Yoshi Takeda as «Mr. Takeda» or «Takeda-san.» Expect to go through an interpreter unless you learn otherwise. If meeting high-ranking government officials, an interpreter is always used even
if they can speak English fluently because customarily, they refrain from speaking foreign languages in public. Other businessmen may speak some English but may not be adequate for undertaking business negotiations.
Exchanging meishi conservative dress is common for both men and women in public. Most Japanese professionals wear Western-style dress (European more than American), although during the hot summer months, men often do not wear suit jackets.
Concern about how others perceive you pervades business and social communication in Japan. Since saving and losing face are so important, you should avoid confrontation or embarrassing situations. A distributor that cannot follow up on a promise made to a customer loses face and may suffer damages to its reputation. Remember, if you are supplying distributors in Japan, to deliver on time (especially if they are samples) or else face a long chain of lost faces and apologies. An error or delayed shipment, even if it is not your fault, may damage your company's reputation with the Japanese company you are dealing with as well as all the companies and customers that Japanese company does business with. Following through on promises and agreements, both oral and written, is of utmost importance and when you cannot do this you will have to swallow your pride and apologize profusely until you are forgiven. This is all part of common business practice and you may see business people (including top executives) on their knees apologizing. When in Japan be ready to include this as a part (hopefully not regular part) of your own business practice.
Nonverbal communications — gestures, nuances, inferences — are very important in signaling intentions. «No» is seldom said directly, and rejection is always stated indirectly. Remember that the Japanese hai means «Yes, I understand you» rather than «Yes, I agree with you». The Japanese will sit in silence for some time — it is a way to reflect on what has been said. Early business and social contacts are characterized by politeness and formality.
The Japanese like to launch new products or take other important initiatives on «lucky days» The luckiest day, called the «taian», occurs about every six days. Your Japanese counterpart will probably want to delay a major announcement until the next «taian». Japanese calendars usually indicate these days.
The presentation of a new product is traditionally followed by a reception with the product on display; an omiyage, or gift, is given to each attendee. This adds to the overall cost of the event.
Japan epitomizes the rule «Make a friend, then make a sale». When selling to or negotiating with the Japanese, do not rush things. The Japanese prefer a ritual of getting to know you, deciding whether they want to do business with you at all, instead of putting proposals on the table, and seeing whether agreement is possible within a broad framework.
The Japanese prefer to close with a broad agreement and mutual understanding, preceded by thorough discussion of each side's expectations and goals. If they decide they want to do business, they will negotiate the details with you later.
A Japanese negotiator cannot give a prompt answer during an initial discussion. No commitment can be made until the group or groups he or she represents reach a consensus. Do not expect an immediate answer.
Negotiations may take an extended period. Japanese executives emphasize good faith over legal, contractual safeguards. They are not in the habit of negotiating detailed contracts that cover all contingencies. However, Japanese managers who are accustomed to Western business dealings are familiar with more structured contracts.
In case of disputes, the Japanese prefer resolving issues out of court on basis of the quality of the business relationship.
A Japanese partner or customer will usually prefer to develop a business relationship in stages, with a limited initial agreement that, if successful, is gradually extended into a broader, more binding agreement.
So once you make a commitment, expect it to be for a long time. If you break it, your reputation will be affected and everyone will know. It may be difficult to find another Japanese partner after this happens.
hierarchy — иерархия
emphasis — подчеркивание
nurturing — воспитание
network — сеть
flow — поток
essential — существенный
initial — начальный executive — менеджер
retrain — воздерживаться (от)
negotiations — переговоры
root — корни, истоки
multitude — множество
shareholders — акционеры
enterprise — предприятие
conglomerate — конгломерат,
perceive — постигать, понимать
accusation — обвинение
interference — вмешательство
pervade — распространяться,
emphasis — выделение
favoritism — зашита национальных
delay — задержка
shipment — отгрузка
profusely — чрезмерно
Our society is made up of all kinds of organizations, such as companies, government, departments, unions, hospitals, schools and the like. They are essential to our existence, helping to create our standard of living and our quality of life. In all these organizations, there are people carrying out the work of a manager. The role of the manager is particularly significant in such social sphere as the lodging industry.
The lodging industry is the most important element of the social sphere. It plays the leading part in the increase of the public production and accordingly in the uplifting of living standards.
One can designate the hotel as an enterprise rendering service to the people, which are out of doors. The service of the placing and the nourishment is the leading one at the hotel.
The hotel apartments are the basic element of the placing service. They are intended for the rest, sleeping and work of the guests. In additional the placing service includes the service, which is done by the personal of the hotel. These are reception and official registration of the guests, cleaning the rooms and others.
The nourishment consists of different processes:
• process of production (preparation of dishes),
• trade process (sale of the food products),
• service process (service of the guests by the waiters at the restaurant, in the rooms).
The additional service includes swimming-pools, conference halls, hair-dresser's, massage-room and many other things. The hotel is distinguished by the additional service among other hotels. Therefore this service is very important by the forming of the attractiveness of the hotel.
Among the main services of the hotel one can also distinguish the reserving the place, the facilities, the receiving and the service of the exploitation of die apartment fund.
The service of the nourishment, the placing service and the additional service are formed different at the hotels. And so one can designate several types of the hotels.
The first class hotels are usually situated in the center of the city. The skilled staff ensures the high level of the service. The clients of this kind of the hotel are businessmen, participants of the conferences and other rich men.
The health-resort hotel is situated in the health-resort country. It includes the medical service and the dietary nourishment.
The motel is located near the motor roads and in the suburbs. The clients of the motel are tourists, particularly motor tourers.
The middle class hotels render the broad service. The prizes depend on the situation of the hotel. The leading types of the hotels are the business and health-resort ones, because 50% of the journeys are made with business purpose, and holiday are treatment purpose determines 40% of the journeys. The hotels are classified by the level of the comfort, the capacity of the hotel, the purpose of the hotel, the situation of the hotel, the duration of the work, the providing with the nourishment, the duration of the stay at the hotel, the level of the prices.
Those whose jobs require spending most of the year living out of suitcases are the most attractive clients for big-city hotels, but also the most demanding.
Constantly on the move, these businesspeople expect their hotels to be a home away from home. Some who like consistency go for the international chains that offer reliable service and unified interior design, while even exchanging information about the habits of their long-standing customers. Other look for hotels with a «soul». Often company regulations determine the choice.
How to find a good hotel, how to make a booking and how are hotels classified in different countries?
Amsterdam. The price usually includes tax and light breakfast (at big expensive hotels you pay (or breakfast separately). The number of stars assigned by the Benelux Hotel Classification system signifies the level of comfort. The stars do not say anything, however, about the hotel's location or its atmosphere. Many charming small hotels have only a few stars simply because the standard is lower, yet they often occupy beautifully renovated 17th-century houses along the canals. Both the modest hotels and their sophisticated counterparts, including Amstel, Seven Bridges and Grand Amsterdam, have a gracious, warm atmosphere not often found at the big chains. The largest number of guests come during the tulip season in April and May, and also in July and August. At these times you should book a few weeks in advance. If you plan to stay at popular hotels located along the canals, advance booking is recommended throughout the year. To reserve a room, a credit card is usually enough, but sometimes a down payment (the price of one night's stay) by check or mail order is required. Those coming to Amsterdam without having booked a hotel room, can do it at KLM's airport office (without any additional fee) or at the organization's offices.
Athens. Both hotels and the popular domatia (rooms or rent) are classified by the EOT Greek Tourist Office. Attractively located, and offering such facilities for businesspeople as conference rooms and telecommunications facilities, A-class and deluxe hotels offer the highest standards. Also quite comfortable and serving hearty breakfasts, B-class hotels usually have a restaurant and at least one sports facility, usually a swimming pool or a tennis court. C-, D- and E-class hotels look much more modest.
Budapest. The local hotels of a higher category, especially those equipped with their own steam baths and pools, are fully consistent with European standards. They are run by popular international networks such as Hyatt, Kempinski and Marriott. Your first choice is between those located in Buda and in Pest. Buda's hills offer you fresh air, cool shade on hot days and peace and quiet, while in the flat plain of Pest you will be just one step away from most tourist attractions. The price always includes breakfast, and a Swedish buffet at hotels with three stars and more. At hotels specializing in hydrotherapy, the entrance fee to swimming pools and sauna is included into the price of the room; any medical treatment is extra. The price includes VAT and climate tax, as Budapest is also a spa. Hotels are classified in five categories here, and boarding houses in two. In five- and four star hotels all rooms have bathrooms, TV sets, telephones (although expensive), radios and refrigerators. Most of them are also equipped with air conditioning, facilities for businesspeople and fitness clubs. Three-star hotels run at least two restaurants and their personnel speak at least one foreign language. At two-star hotels, at least two-thirds of the rooms have their own bathrooms and showers. High-standard hotels provide 24-hour service. Tips are always welcomed.
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