What a business person must first note in studying Hong Kong and Vietnam culture is that both countries have collectivist orientations and interests. They exhibit close family and community ties. Loyalty is a very important value and each member takes responsibility for others in the group. (Taylor, para. 7)
People in Hong Kong value collective ideals of modesty, moderation, and the value of protecting established, harmonious relationships¦. The collective culture would reinforce peoples motivation to do a good job, because there is an element of face involved. If one is doing a good job in running a company, he or she not only reaps profits but also gain face (International Business Ethics, Attitude toward a Corporation section). The concept of face in Hong Kong is roughly equivalent to reputation and integrity. Most Hong Kong companies are owned by families (International Business Ethics, Religions and Traditions section, para. 4).
For the Vietnamese, the family is of utmost importance. The groups interests comes first before the individuals. All customs and rituals like weddings and funerals are attached to the village community. Marriages had to meet the interests of family lines and wedding proposals are made to the brides family. (Customs, para. 5)
Hong Kong culture is somewhere in-between Chinese and American culture (International Business Ethics, para. 1). In fact, both Chinese and English are considered its official languages. Although Hong Kong is predominantly Chinese, its culture blends the East and the West, as well as the old and the new.
People here still cling to their roots, to their traditional beliefs and religions. They continue to pray and make offerings at more than 600 old and new temples, shrines and monasteries scattered across the territory. (Hong Kong Culture, para. 2)
Hong Kong is famous for their lion dances, a colorful display of a dancing large lion usually during festive occasions and are meant to bring in good luck.
The Hong Kong Chinese also celebrate the Ching Ming Festival, devoted to honoring their relatives who have died. Ancestors are held in high regard by the Chinese and they are always prayed to for guidance.
Another festival that exhibits the Chineses close familial ties is the Moon Festival. It is believed that on that day, the moon is on its biggest, roundest and brightest. The term round implies family reunion in Chinese.
There are various religions in Hong Kong, including Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Judaism. There are 39,400 Catholics, 300,000 Protestant Christians, 20,000 Muslims and 15,000 Hindus in Hong Kong. All of these religions are deeply involved in education, health care and social services.
Homes of Buddhist and Taoist believers have ancestral shrines, with images of the most favored of the hundreds of divinities (International Business Ethics, Religions and Traditions section, para. 2).
Generally, Hong Kong has a welcoming attitude to business people from around the world (Hong Kong a Model, para. 6). It could be expected that American-owned businesses would have no problem dealing with the Hong Kong Chinese. In fact, the city already hosts more than 1,100 American firms (U.S.-Hong Kong, para. 4).
Despite this, American business people should still take note of the following cultural values and behaviors in order to avoid any misunderstandings with the Hong Kong Chinese:
Religion has a very significant influence on the culture and way of life of the Vietnamese. Their attitude towards family, life and death are greatly influenced by Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism (Religion, para. 1).
The predominant religion in Vietnam is Buddhism, with about 10 million followers. The second largest is Catholicism, with about six million followers, but their influence on the culture is minimal. Just as well, the influence of the two religious sects, Cao Dai and Hoa Hao, are also insignificant. Caodaism is a combination of different teachings of Buddha, Jesus, Confucius, Lao-Tse and others. Hoa Hao, meanwhile, is a reformed Theravada Buddhism. (Religion, Other religions section)
There are also Protestants and Muslims in Vietnam but the numbers are not large.
As with the Hong Kong Chinese, Vietnam had also opened their trade with the United States. Likewise, it could be expected that doing business in Vietnam would not be too difficult for Americans, just as long as they keep in mind some of the intricacies of this culture. Among these:
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Hong Kong Culture. (n.d.) Retrieved February 1, 2007 from http://hong-kong.tourism-asia.net/hong-kong-culture.html
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