China Tip 15: Diffuse focus The Chinese are particularly firm and patient during negotiations. A Chinese business partner approaches a situation or contract in a diffuse manner. Contrastingly, in the West, the custom is to consider negotiation points in a concrete and systematic manner. These differences in approach tend to give rise to frustrations in both parties. The Western interlocutor concludes that the Chinese party is going back on previously made appointments, and, at the same time, the Chinese may interpret the attitude of the Western party as obstinate and egocentric. As a result of the broad perspective of the Chinese business partner, Western entrepreneurs are often surprised by the new elements that keep being added to the deal. The resulting need for providing feedback to the supporting party can lead to the loss of precious time. One possible tactic is to establish the maximum results and more at the beginning of the negotiations. However, also try to keep a few consciously chosen giveaways in reserve to use as counteroffer for a turn of events that you consider unfavorable. Despite negotiations appearing to be considerably different in China from what Westerners are used to, the desired outcome should be the same everywhere in the world: an agreement that benefits both parties.