African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 389


China - Africa culture differences in business relations

Onukwube Anedo
Faculty of Arts, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria. 
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 22 February 2012
  •  Published: 30 April 2012


With the Chinese rapid industrial development, there became a need for importation of oil and minerals (that is, iron ore, bauxite, nickel, copper), which Africa have in great quantity. For that, China now becomes Africa’s second largest trading partner after U.S. As a result of this, bilateral trade with Africa reached $114 billion in 2008, up from $65.9 billion in 2007. This was as a result of the government’s “going global policy”, which encouraged Chinese companies to become multinationals, and therefore supported a rise in China’s foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa to $5.4 billion in 2009, up from a negligible amount just a decade ago. In spite of Africa – China relationship, there appears to be culture related differences which need to be studied for greater mutual understanding. The objective of this topic therefore, is more or less to minimize misunderstandings through an awareness of the priorities and expectations of business partners for greater world economy. In so doing, this study was able to discuss some differences in Africa and Chinese business cultures. It therefore explained the connection between culture and business. It went on to clarify the differences between China and Africa by focusing on Hofstede’s four cultural dimensions: power distance, individualism/collectivism, masculinity/femininity, and uncertainty avoidance and Bond’s dimension about long-term/short-term orientation also called “Confucian dynamism”. The paper tried to explain their cultural differences in business strategies, conflict management, decision-making risk-taking/risk-avoiding, decision-making, work-group characteristics, and motivation systems. It made it known that whereas Chinese has something to do with guanxi (relationship) that helps them not to lose face in business, African never think of such. The paper concludes that knowing another culture is a legitimate concern of businesses. More than that, it is essential. Those who make effort to understand another culture gain knowledge about how to behave in that culture. Otherwise, if one knows what people value and understand their attitudes, one would not unintentionally do something that offends and diminishes one’s chances for business success.


Key words: China – Africa, culture, differences, business, relations, guanxi.