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Our Regional Centers of Expertise

What does really matter when it comes to foreign assignments and which intercultural particularities should be considered in which regions of the world? Who can answer questions regarding important developments surrounding the topic of foreign assignments, current visa regulations and cultural news or provide helpful information about the country or countries in question? The intercultural experts and outbound specialists at icunet combine their comprehensive knowledge on cross-cultural management, cultural awareness and assignment management in regional centers of expertise within the company – interdisciplinary, networked and always one step ahead.

They will handle your questions and provide support regarding intercultural training and qualifying, international personnel selection and the various practical issues related to foreign assignments – from residence permits to finding a new home. All these examples are part of our unique systematic approach to intercultural and assignment management from a single source. All of our experts in the regional centers of expertise share an enthusiasm for bringing cultures together and simplifying international exchanges. Every outbound representative and intercultural expert at ICUnet.AG has wide-ranging expertise from their own international occupational experiences.

As your contact for regional know-how, the regional centers of expertise regularly publish newsletters with current news on their regions.

USA South America Arab World Russia Scandinavia Central Europe Southern Europe Western Europe South East Europe South Africa Australia and Oceania Southeast Asia China India Japan South Korea

USA

The American Dream, discovering new frontiers and the Statue of Liberty: The US is a land of possibilities, innovation and a major player in the global economy! Europe and the US are closely connected at the economic level. Yet there are challenges to master when it comes to living and doing business there: Intercultural particularities play a significant role in shaping communication, the way time and hierarchical structures are viewed and global cooperations.
But what does an internationally active manager need to know when it comes to successful business with Americans? The regional center of expertise for the US focuses on all aspects that have a meaningful influence on American business culture. Are you or your employees facing a challenge in the US, with American business partners or colleagues? The experts at icunet look forward to assisting you!

Official Holidays in US

4 July: Independence Day
The Fourth of July is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and political speeches and ceremonies, in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States.

23 November 2017: Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Several other places around the world observe similar celebrations. It is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and on the second Monday of October in Canada. Thanksgiving has its historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, and has long been celebrated in a secular manner as well.

"Interesting is a word one hears often in the US, but in contrast to German usage, it is not usually meant in a positive way. So when an American says something is interesting, simply thank them for their feedback and ask them what they find interesting."
Ken Myers, Intercultural Expert

DO


  • Grip tightly when shaking hands, and make eye contact. Americans consider it rude and arrogant to shake hands without looking at the other person.
  • Say "Please" and "Thank you" even for the smallest favour. Politeness is very important in the United States.
  • Always pay attention to political correctness.


DON’T


  • Stare, ask questions or otherwise attract attention to someone's disability or physical appearance. It’s considered rude.
  • Speak too loud on your mobile phone. It is considered rude to speak loudly on mobile phones in enclosed public places such as trains, restaurants, shops and museums.
  • Go into too much depth during small talk situations. Conversations in the United States tend to be light.


Of course, the ICUnet.AG does not want to introduce any stereotypes, but only identify tendencies that may apply to a larger share of the US population, but of course not to all.

South America

Whether Brazil, Argentina or Chile: It is a well-known fact that personal relationships, including those outside of occupational circumstances, are crucial for success in many South American countries. Sustained success, however, often requires a certain sensitivity to the finer points of the culture. This is where the regional center of expertise for Brazil comes into play with its focus on intercultural peculiarities as well as current trends in foreign assignment management.

How do I arrange successful cooperations with countries in South America? What should one keep in mind when making business contacts in the region? What is the best way to arrange a foreign assignment?

Are you facing a challenge in South America, with South American business partners or colleagues? Do you require intercultural training for Brazil, Argentina or other countries in South America or support with a relocation to South America? The experts at icunet look forward to assisting you!

Official Holidays in Brasil

21 April: Tiradentes 
Joaquim José da Silva Xavier was a leading member of the Brazilian revolutionary movement known as the Inconfidência Mineira whose aim was full independence from the Portuguese colonial power and to create a Brazilian republic. When the plan was discovered, Tiradentes was arrested, tried and publicly hanged. Since the 19th century he has been considered a national hero of Brazil and patron of the Polícia Militar de Minas Gerais. He began to be considered a national hero by the republicans in the late 19th century, and after the republic was proclaimed in Brazil in 1889 the anniversary of his death (April 21) became a national holiday.

7 September: Independence Day of Brazil (Independência do Brasil)
The Independence of Brazil comprised a series of political events that occurred in 1821–1824, most of which involved disputes between Brazil and Portugal regarding the call for independence presented by the Brazilian Empire. It is celebrated on September 7, the anniversary of the September 7, 1822 date regent Prince Dom Pedro declared Brazil's independence from Portugal. Formal recognition came with a treaty signed by Brazil and Portugal in autumn, 1825.

“The exchange of experiences and personal growth that comes from spending time in a multicultural environment is substantial. I missed this diversity while I was working as a freelancer and now enjoy working as part of this international team.”
Michael Goulao, Intercultural Expert at icunet

DO

  • Take time to greet and say goodbye to each person present and maintain eye con-tact when you shake their hand.
  • Talk about football, family, Brazil’s beautiful beaches and the country’s rapid growth.
  • Expect meals to last longer than in other countries, for example, Northern Europe. On special occasions, it might last up to 1.5 hours.

DON’T

  • Don’t "drop in" on businesses or government offices without an appointment.
  • Talk about politics, poverty, religion, Argentina (considered a rival) and the defor-estation of Brazil.
  • Give a tip at a restaurant unless the service was outstanding. It's not customary in Brazil. There is usually a 10% service charge included in the bill, but it is optional.


Of course, the icunet does not want to introduce any stereotypes, but only identify tendencies that may apply to a larger share of the South Amerika population, but of course not to all.

Southern Europe

Thinking about the saying “Dolce Vita” and forthwith associating an Italian restaurant like a small trattoria, the right track has already been taken, the one of southern mentality and culture. In Italy the term “Dolce Vita”, translated by “sweet life”, is expressing an attitude towards life reflected, of course, in the Italian cuisine by the indulgence of pizza, pasta and pesto. Here and in further southern nations like Spain, Portugal or Greece people enjoy their place under the sun.

Yet, when dealing with business partners and important business negotiations, how am I supposed to cope with Southern European composure on the one hand and Latin temperament on the other? How do I manage a differing perception of time? A Spanish “mañana” doesn’t have to be “tomorrow”, but can be equivalent with “later”. How can I succeed in reading between the lines when gestures and facial expressions rather determine a conversation? 

The Regional Center of Expertise for Southern Europe is well skilled to interpret and react on culturally patterned characteristics in a business related context. You are facing a business challenge with a Southern European nation and are in need of a certain know how regarding intercultural competence? You are equally attracted by a place under the sun or intend to send one of your expatriates onto the Mount Olympus in Greece? We offer you all the support you need to lift your Global Mobility process to perfection. The intercultural consultants of the icunet are looking forward to assisting you. Do not hesitate to contact us!

Official Holidays in Spain

12 October: Columbus Day (Día de la Hispanidad)
Since 1987, Spain has celebrated the anniversary of Columbus' arrival in the Americas as its Fiesta Nacional or "National Day". Previously Spain had celebrated the day as Día de la Hispanidad, emphasizing Spain's ties with the Hispanidad, the international Hispanic community. In 1981 a royal decree established the Día de la Hispanidad as a national holiday.

6 December: Constitution Day (Día de la Constitución)
It is a holiday in Spain at the conclusion of the Constitutional Referendum of 1978 in which the Spanish people approved by a large majority, the current Spanish Constitution. During the day various events are held in honor of the 1978 constitution.

"Exact numbers in Spain have a different meaning than in Germany. If you order bread in a restaurant, it is not necessary to say exactly how many pieces. In Germany, you have to say the exact number."
Sara Infante Díez, Intercultural Expert

DO


  • Be patient. Patience is a very important virtue in Spain when dealing with the Spanish, as they are known for their relaxed approach to business.
  • Be aware of the fact that Spanish people have two surnames (their father’s and their mother’s).
  • Create a genuine, friendly, and personal atmosphere during negotiations.


DON’T


  • Refuse to answer personal questions when attending a meeting.
  • Rush to talk about business when invited to a business meal. Business meals in Spain are considered to be a very social activity where predominantly private life is discussed.
  • Behave in a superior or dominant manner when dealing with your business partners.


Of course, the ICUnet.AG does not want to introduce any stereotypes, but only identify tendencies that may apply to a larger share of the South Europe population, but of course not to all.

South East Europe

How do I successfully close a deal in South East Europe? What do I need to keep in mind in Romania or Bulgaria? What are the keys to a successful foreign assignment in the region?
Questions regarding intercultural management provide insight into both one's own role, with a view to the expectations of South Eastern European colleagues, as well as conscious "actions". These show whether one is open for suitable channels of communication.
The intercultural experts at ICUnet.AG know the particularities of the South Eastern European countries. What really matters here? How are appointments, hierarchies and personal networks viewed in the country? Do you want to start an international cooperation or projects in Eastern Europe and want to prepare for the intercultural challenges involved? Get in touch with the intercultural consultants at ICUnet.AG!

Official Holidays in Romania

15th August: Maria Himmelfahrt (Adormirea Maicii Domnului)
The Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God is an annual national holiday in Romania. It celebrates the Christian belief that God assumed the Virgin Mary into Heaven following her death.

1st December: National Day (Ziua Națională)
It is due to the most important moment in Romanian history when, on 1st December 1918 the unification of Transylvania, Bukovina and Bessarabia was declared with the Romanian Old Reich.

DO


  • Accept invitations and try to build good relationships based on common experi-ences.
  • Keep in contact after closing the business deal.
  • Expect business dealing to take quite a long time. An extensive system of rules re-sults in a very bureaucratic society. Patience and relationships are essential for successful business ventures.


DON’T


  • Criticise Romania, as Romanians are very patriotic.
  • Incorrectly assume that Romania was part of the Soviet Union or the Russian Em-pire.
  • Be too late for business appointments. Although Romanians may not initially ap-pear to be very punctual, even when dealing with people they know, they will try to adapt their behaviour when dealing with foreigners and expect you to be punctual.


Of course, the ICUnet.AG does not want to introduce any stereotypes, but only identify tendencies that may apply to a larger share of the Eastern Europe population, but of course not to all.

Western Europe

You are a gourmet and you are fond of Moules & Frites? You are a fan of “Tim and Struppi”? You are issued with a great deal of interest in international relationships which are on the docket of the NATO or the European Parliament in Brussels? You speak Dutch, French, German or English? Excellent! You have managed to take an initial hurdle and you are likely to feel at ease.

Yet, when you intend to successfully act on a business level, your particular liking for Belgian chocolate won’t be enough. For sure, mastering one, or two or even three of the official languages will be a plus in the face of its multicultural society, yet not deliver huge support in order to score in matters of nonverbal communication.

Likewise, you will collide with comparable challenges in other countries of central Europe, such as Austria, Swiss or Luxembourg. Challenges including various perceptions of hierarchy, time or different ways in dealing with uncertainty that might even trigger a culture clash and cannot be controlled by just speaking a foreign language. Are you facing a significant cultural challenge on your own? Do you want to represent a match for foreign business partners being able to cope with the intercultural demands of this business cooperation? Then make demands on the support of our intercultural consultants and outbound experts. Our Regional Center of Expertise for Western Europe is looking forward to assisting you!

Official Holidays in France

14 July: National Holiday (fête nationale)
The French National Day commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution with the Storming of the Bastille on the 14 July 1789, as well as the Fête de la Fédération which celebrated the unity of the French people on the 14 July 1790. Celebrations are held all over France. The oldest and largest regular military parade in Europe is held on the morning of 14 July, on the Champs-Élysées avenue in Paris in front of the President of the Republic, French officials and foreign guests.

11 November: First Armistice at Compiègne (le jour anniversaire de l'armistice de 1918)
The armistice between the Allies and Germany – also known as the "Armistice of Compiègne" after the location it was signed – was the agreement that ended the fighting in western Europe that comprised the First World War. It went into effect at 11 a.m. on 11 November 1918, and marked a victory for the Allies and a complete defeat for Germany, although not technically a surrender. The Germans were responding to the policies proposed by American president Woodrow Wilson in his Fourteen Points of January 1918.

“How do you understand the term 'compromise'? Germans have a very different understanding of the term than the French do. While compromise has the idea of a win-win situation for Germans, the French see compromise as a partial defeat!”
Pauline Baroni, Intercultural Expert

DO


  • Try to at least learn French vocabulary. Not every French person speaks English and your efforts to speak some French will be valued highly.
  • Politeness is very important: Use set phrases such as Bonjour Monsieur/Madame; and respect hierarchies.
  • Show honest interest in the point of view of your conversation partner.


DON’T


  • Do not expect decisions to be made during a meeting. They often only serve more as room for discussion while the actual decision is taken afterwards.
  • Don’t be too direct, rather try to express yourself indirectly and implicitly.
  • In France, private and working life are separated. Therefore do not call your French colleagues or employees at home unless it is a real emergency.


Of course, the ICUnet.AG does not want to introduce any stereotypes, but only identify tendencies that may apply to a larger share of the Western Europe population, but of course not to all.

Arab World

"Small talk is no waste of time." Every culture develops its own understanding of time, hierarchies and relational orientation and this understanding shapes both personal and social interactions. That's why it is very advisable to prepare for the essential cultural differences involved with foreign assignments and trips to the Arab world.
The regional center of expertise for the Arab region focuses on all aspects that have a meaningful influence on Arabian business culture. Are you or your employees facing 1001 challenges in the Arab world, with Arabian business partners or colleagues? The experts at ICUnet.AG look forward to assisting you!

Official Holidays in the Arab World

Muslim festivals are timed according to local sightings of various phases of the moon and the dates given here are approximations. During the lunar month of Ramadan that precedes Eid al-Fitr, Muslims fast during the day and feast at night and normal business patterns may be interrupted. Many restaurants are closed during the day and there may be restrictions on smoking and drinking. Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha may last anything from 3 to 10 days, depending on the region and type of business.
26 - 28 June 2017 (~): Sugar Feast, End of Ramadan (عيد الفطر / Eid al-Fitr)
2 - 5 September 2017 (~): Feast of the Sacrifice (عيد الأضحى / Eid al-Adha)

"In the Arab world, there is no strict separation of private and business life; deals and business matters can be brought up at any moment and anywhere."
Bassam Elemam, Intercultural Expert

DO


  • Show interest in the culture of the country and respect towards traditions.
  • Dress conservatively and avoid wearing shorts, as well as revealing clothes (especially women).
  • Establish trustful personal relationships with colleagues and business partners.


DON’T


  • Offer alcoholic drinks or pork meat. Both are strictly prohibited in Saudi Arabia.
  • Walk on a prayer mat or in front of any person at prayer, and try not to stare at people who are praying.
  • Try to enter the Holy sites of the areas surrounding Mecca and Medina. The roads are well signposted to notify everybody of this restriction. If a non-Muslim is found within the prohibited areas, he could be arrested by the police.


Of course, the ICUnet.AG does not want to introduce any stereotypes, but only identify tendencies that may apply to a larger share of the Arab World population, but of course not to all.

South Africa

South Africa, the rainbow nation, could not be more colorful: This is a country where worlds collide! It comes as no surprise then, that this has an impact on the business world as well. Every segment of the population brings its own flair and influence with it.

The intercultural experts at ICUnet.AG know the particularities of the South African business world. What really matters here? How are appointments, hierarchies and personal networks viewed in the country? Do you want to start an international cooperation or projects in South Africa and want to prepare for the intercultural challenges involved? Get in touch with the intercultural consultants at icunet!

Official Holidays in South Africa

27 April: Freedom Day
Freedom Day is a South African public holiday celebrated on 27 April. It celebrates freedom and commemorates the first post-apartheid elections held on that day in 1994. They were the first national elections in South Africa in which the franchise did not depend upon race.

16 June: Youth Day
Youth Day in South Africa commemorates the Soweto Uprising in the country. The day is celebrated on June 16 every year. The day is celebrated in order to recognize the role of youth in the liberation of South Africa from the Apartheid regime.

"South Africans take Braai very seriously. What is Braai? BBQ! The men usually handle the grilling duties, which is an art unto itself. Conflicts can quickly arise when it comes to discussions about what belongs on the grill!”
Sabrina Schulze, Intercultural Consultant

DO

  • Take part in leisure activities to get to know your colleagues and form a trusting relationship. So, you should take invitations seriously and accept them if possible.
  • Respect hierarchies.
  • Spend time on decision making. The importance of decisions is demonstrated by the amount of time spent on it.

DON’T


  • Talk about Aids, religion, politics. In general, all issues which could result in a serious discussion should be avoided.
  • Express criticism directly. Try to communicate indirectly to people, and always stay polite.
  • Get impatient when discussions are lengthy, particularly when it concerns important decisions.


Of course, the ICUnet.AG does not want to introduce any stereotypes, but only identify tendencies that may apply to a larger share of the South Africa population, but of course not to all.

Central Europe

Plans for a short trip to Prague or Zurich are made quite fast and put into practise just as fast. Yet, you are even quicker tracing Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to Vienna, or, just for the delight of a “Linzer Torte”, jumping into the next Intercityexpress who delivers you directly to Europe’s cultural capital of 2009. Other countries of Central Europe, from the princedom Liechtenstein over Slovakia, are not that far away, too. Being able to cross a border at a moment’s notice, you easily forget that you will face a different culture, a different mentality and different customs. So, if you intend to please your Czech host by bringing a few flowers, a bouquet of six roses then you succeeded in meeting Czech courtesy by a nice touch, yet you also dropped a brick as flowers in even numbers are only used at a Czech funeral.
Especially when staying abroad in areas of Central Europe, or when sending your assignees there, it is entirely vital to get aware of all the cultural differences that you or your assignee is going to face. Are you thinking about placing your “business tentacles” all around Central Europe in order to catch the “big business fish” in your neighbour countries? Do you seek to go hunting for business success rather than dropping a clanger? Are you aiming at an “A” for your cooperation with a foreign business partner? Then do not hesitate to consult our Regional Center of Experties. Our Intercultural experts are looking forward in assisting you in your intensive and promising preparation. The ICUnet.AG is going to lift your global mobility up to perfection.

Official Holidays in Hungary
15 March: National Holiday (Nemzeti ünnep)

The National Holiday commemorates the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. People often wear a cockade above the heart in the national Hungarian colors: red, white and green.
23 October: Rpublic Day (1956-os forradalom és szabadságharc)

This day commemorates two key events in the history of modern Hungary that both happened on 23 October; the 1956 uprising against the Soviet Union and the creation of the Republic of Hungary in 1989.

"Hungary understand agreements often very different than Germany! When a German says "I need it soon," he expects an answer within a few days. However, the Hungarian partner understands, "I can take my time!"
Caro Hacker, Intercultural Expert

DO

  • Be courteous, as it is an essential part of Hungarian culture.
  • Learn and use at least a few Hungarian words "köszönöm" (thank you), "kérem" (you’re welcome) und "bocsànat" (I’m sorry).
  • Follow a more conservative etiquette. Women are treated with utmost courtesy, such as holding doors open, helping with coats and making sure they arrive home safely.

DON’T

  • Underestimate women in business life. Just because you should treat them with utmost courtesy, it doesn’t mean that they are not tough and equal business part-ners.
  • Assume that because Hungarians tend to be late for meetings, you can be as well. As, for example, Germans are famous for their punctuality it may be seen as rude to be late.
  • Forget, that a “No” can mean a “Yes” in Hungarian culture. It is better to ask twice.


Of course, the ICUnet.AG does not want to introduce any stereotypes, but only identify tendencies that may apply to a larger share of the Central Europe population, but of course not to all.

Scandinavia

Endless seas, pristine landscapes, forests and islands: Scandinavia is a dream destination for recreationalists. But what values guide business relationships in Scandinavia? How does one successfully manage projects? What matters most when sending employees on foreign assignments to the Scandinavian countries?

The regional center of expertise for Scandinavia focuses on all aspects that have a meaningful influence on Scandinavian business culture. Are you facing challenges in Scandinavia? The intercultural experts at icunet look forward to assisting you!

Official Holidays in Sweden

25 May: Feast of the Ascension (Kristi Himmelsfärdsdag)
The Feast of the Ascension commemorates the bodily Ascension of Jesus into heaven. It is one of the ecumenical feasts of Christian churches, ranking with the feasts of the Passion, of Easter, and Pentecost. In the Roman Catholic church it is also known as the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. Ascension Day is traditionally celebrated on a Thursday.

6 June: National Day of Sweden (Nationaldagen)
The tradition of celebrating this date began 1916 at the Stockholm Olympic Stadium, in honour of the election of King Gustav Vasa in 1523, as this was considered the foundation of modern Sweden. In 2005 it became an official Swedish public holiday, replacing Whit Monday. This change led to fewer days off from work (more working-days) as 6 June will periodically fall on the weekend, unlike Whit Monday, which was always celebrated on a Monday. This has in turn led to complaints from some Swedish unions.

“Equality and feminism characterize the working environment in Sweden. Here, it is perfectly acceptable for a project manager to announce that he will be leaving work early to pick up his kids. In many cultures, this would be unheard of!”
Kerstin Grönlund, Intercultural Expert

DO


  • Swedes take punctuality for business meetings very seriously and expect you to do likewise. Call with an explanation if you are delayed.
  • During business meetings, Swedes usually get right down to business after very brief cordialities.


DON’T


  • Do not praise another city or area in Sweden over the one you are presently visiting. Swedes are very proud of their own town or region.
  • Generally, Swedes are reserved in body language. They do not embrace or touch often in public.


Of course, the icunet does not want to introduce any stereotypes, but only identify tendencies that may apply to a larger share of the Scandinavia population, but of course not to all.

India

The largest democracy in the world, an economic power and ambitious actor on the global stage – but how does one do business successfully in India? A small sample from an intercultural guide on communication in India provides an example: "In India, one mainly communicates indirectly. That's why it is important to observe the body language of those one is speaking with. A friendly pat on the back is a sign of friendship. Don't however, pat someone's head, as this part of the body is viewed as the home to the soul and is therefore particularly sensitive."
The regional center of expertise for India focuses on all aspects that have a meaningful influence on Indian business culture. Are you or your employees facing a challenge in this extremely diverse country, with Indian business partners or colleagues? The experts at ICUnet.AG look forward to assisting you! Official Holidays in India

21 January 2018: Vasant Panchami
In modern times, however, Vasant Panchami day is more commonly associated with Maa Saraswati, the goddess of learning, wisdom, knowledge, fine arts, refinement, science and technology. Goddess Saraswati is worshipped and the day is treated by celebrants as Saraswati's birthday. People worship Goddess Saraswati to attain enlightenment through knowledge and to rid themselves of lethargy, sluggishness and ignorance.

2 March 2018: Holi (होली)
Holi is a spring festival also known as the festival of colours and the festival of love. It is an ancient Hindu religious festival which has become popular with non-Hindus in many parts of South Asia, as well as people of other communities.

"The Indian time zone "Indian Standard Time" is also sometimes referred to as "Indian Stretchable Time" in respect to their relaxed attitude towards time and schedules. Appointments should be planned well in advance and confirmed in advance."
Gurdatar Singh Bal, Intercultural Expert

DO

  • Give praise whenever the opportunity arises.
  • Learn to read the meaning behind non-verbal behaviour.
  • Avoid disagreements. But if unavoidable, caution the recipient and apologise afterwards.

DON’T

  • Show anger.
  • Be too direct, when demanding something, asking for something, criticising somebody, rejecting something or expressing an opposing opinion.
  • Point out “Indian English” language “mistakes”.


Of course, the ICUnet.AG does not want to introduce any stereotypes, but only identify tendencies that may apply to a larger share of the India population, but of course not to all.

China

"So, what is the key to business success in China?" When a person returns from China and is asked what China is really like, few manage to summarize their thoughts into a few sentences! China is a land full of contrasts: It boasts some of the largest cities in the world, impressive buildings and a blossoming economy.

But what does an internationally active manager need to know when it comes to successful business with the Chinese? What is needed for a successful foreign assignment to China? The regional center of expertise for China focuses on all aspects that have a meaningful influence on Chinese business culture.

Are you or your employees facing a challenge in China, with Chinese business partners or colleagues? Do you need intercultural training for China or support in relocating to China? The experts at ICUnet.AG look forward to assisting you!

Official Holidays in China

16 February: Chinese New Year, Year of the Earth Dog (春节 /Chun Jie)
Chinese New Year is an important traditional Chinese holiday celebrated at the turn of the Chinese calendar. Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally run from Chinese New Year's Eve, the last day of the last month of the Chinese calendar, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month, making the festival the longest in the Chinese calendar.

30 May: Dragon Boat Festival (端午节 / Duanwu Jie)
The festival was long marked as a festival culturally in China and is a public holiday in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau. However, the People's Republic of China government, established in 1949, did not officially recognize Duanwu as a public holiday. Since 2008, Duanwu has been celebrated not only as a festival but also a public holiday in the People's Republic of China. (on the 5th day of the 5th moon month)

"A nuanced approach is required when working with the Chinese: Which generation does my contact belong to? Am I working with a wholly or partially state-owned company or a private company? It is always helpful to remember that China has many faces..."
Julia Bindrich, Head of Shanghai Office and Intercultural Consultant

DO


  • Pay compliments. The Chinese tend to give praise and pay compliments in many situations, often in an exaggerated way. It serves different purposes - e.g. giving face or masking criticism and you should react to this kind of compliment with a waving off gesture or remark.
  • Come in time. Punctuality in China is very important. If you are late you should let know by telephone and apologise extensively.


DON’T


  • Use irony. Not many Chinese people understand irony in foreign languages. It can also create linguistic problems and could lead to the most serious of misunderstandings.
  • Drink on your own. Usually several people are invited for a drink. Moreover, for anyone with a lower position in the hierarchical structure it is advisable to hold the glass beneath the glass of a partner when toasting.


Of course, the ICUnet.AG does not want to introduce any stereotypes, but only identify tendencies that may apply to a larger share of the China population, but of course not to all.

Russia

Vodka, natural gas and caviar? Russia offers many unique specialties and it knows how to celebrate its diverse holidays. The regional center of expertise for Russia knows the particularities that count when making business contacts, dealing with colleagues and establishing successful international cooperations!If you are facing a challenge in this country full of intercultural pitfalls, get in touch with the reliable experts at icunet! Official Holidays in Russia

23 February: Defender of the Fatherland Day (День Защитника Отечества / Den' Zaščitnika Otečestva)

Officially, as the name suggests, the holiday celebrates people who are serving or were serving the Russian Armed Forces (both men and women), but unofficially, nationally it has also more recently come to include the celebration of men as a whole, and to act as a counterpart of International Women's Day on March 8.8 March: International Women´s Day (Международный женский день)
This holiday emerged as a political celebration to symbolize the fight of women from all over the world for their rights, full equality with men, democracy and peace. As the time passed, the political motives of the holiday moved to the background and March 8th simply became a women's holiday in Russia and other republics of the former USSR.“When it comes to joint projects, German managers often find working with their Russian counterparts nerve-wracking, as they often implement measures at the last possible moment. Russians often do their best work under pressure.”
Marina Stebelezkaja, Intercultural Expert

DO

  • Show interest in Russian culture and feel free to discuss Russian art – it is a perfect small talk topic that could lead to an interesting discussion and help establish a personal relationship with your Russian counterpart.
  • Be generous with presents. It would be a nice gesture to bring a gift for your Russian business partners.
  • Be prepared for some aggressive driving on the roads. It is against the law to overtake on the right or exceed the speed limit, but this still occurs frequently. Russian drivers do not always stop at crossings to let pedestrians cross.

DON’T

  • Assume that Russians are unfriendly if you do not see them smiling a lot. Smiles are often not exchanged with strangers.
  • Shake hands over the threshold of a door – according to a superstition observed by most Russians this would lead to an argument.
  • Forget the specifics of Russian holidays: always congratulate Russian female counterparts on Women’s Day (March 8) and do not set any deadlines or arrange meetings for the first half of January (most Russians are on holiday as the Russian Orthodox Christmas is on January 7) or for the first half of May (many people combine the Labour Day holiday on May 1 with the Victory Day public holiday on May 9).


Of course, the ICUnet.AG does not want to introduce any stereotypes, but only identify tendencies that may apply to a larger share of the Russia population, but of course not to all.

South Korea

Why are mutual activities so important when it comes to business success with Korean colleagues? With the indirect style of communication in South Korea, how can I manage to find out where I stand or make a statement without offending or hurting someone? Why is it essential that I conform to established rules and why are my Korean business partners so averse to risk?

The intercultural experts at icunet have the answers: Are you facing challenges in South Korea in the form of a joint project or a foreign assignment to the country? Get in touch with us!

Official Holidays in South Korea

6 Juni: Memorial Day (현충일 / Hyeonchung-il)
The day commemorates the men and women who died while in military service or in the independence movement. On this day, a national commemoration ceremony is held in Seoul National Cemetery.

15 August: National Liberation Day of Korea (조국해방의 날 / Gwangbokjeol)
The National Liberation Day of Korea, celebrated annually on August 15, is one of the Public holidays in South Korea. It commemorates Victory over Japan Day, which liberated Korea from colonial rule.

“White skin is a must and it is therefore carefully protected from the sun. Young South Koreans spend a lot of money in an effort to look like Japanese and South Korean pop stars.”
Vendula Knopfova, Intercultural Expert

DO


  • Learn some South Korean (hangul). You will get much more out of your experience and South Koreans will be delighted when you attempt to communicate in their language.
  • Accept invitations for social gatherings with your co-workers. This is how South Koreans do business and it will forge better working relationships as well as new friendships.
  • Make South Korean friends! Experience the culture as their guest. You will feel less of an outsider after you have been welcomed into their homes and lives.


DON’T


  • Decline the first drink during a business dinner. Even if you’re not a drinker, you should accept the first glass poured for you. If you decline, you might ruin the drinking mood.
  • Blow your nose while eating.
  • Watch your hands. Never pour your own drink and never let anyone pour their own drinks. When you pour a drink for someone older than you, hold the bottle with two hands.


Of course, the icunet does not want to introduce any stereotypes, but only identify tendencies that may apply to a larger share of the South Korea population, but of course not to all.

Southeast Asia

Singapore is literally translated by “The city of lions”. So, with regard to matters of hygiene and cleanness, for instance, one should stick to strict and infamous Singaporean laws assessing hygiene factors with the utmost importance in order to abide by the law. Therefore, do avoid to throw down a cigarette onto the floor if you don’t want to commit a crime, even if this may sound a little bit hyperbolized. Certainly, doing so and being witnessed thereby will trail a pretty fine that might cost you up to about 500 Euros. Due to its set of stern laws, Singapore succeeded in getting famous as the cleanest and safest cosmopolitan city on the globe. Nevertheless, if you visit Singapore and proverbially “put your head in the lion’s mouth”, a lot more will await you than just a nation of “hygiene bigots”. In terms of a traditional country of immigration, today’s island nation of Singapore is labeled by a huge diversity of cultures that goes hand in hand with a multicultural society and four official languages. Over the years, the melting pot of Singapore metamorphosed into one of the major trading centers of Southeast Asia and is fully integrated into the world economy.

Do you seek to get involved in this highly industrialized and most successful Singaporean center of commerce or service center on your own? Or do you plan to pitch your “business tent” in another metropolitan area or in another emerging market of Southeast Asia? At any rate, be prepared for the multicultural societies of diverse ethnic groups, the tight perception of hierarchies or innumerable further culturally patterned attributes that you will face in the far South East. Our Regional Center of Expertise for Southeast Asia will assist you in effectively designing your global mobility processes so that intercultural fineness will no longer figure a superior barrier for your assignees, yet can rather be dealt with as an easy challenge. Do not hesitate to contact our intercultural experts and bring your Global Mobility to perfection.

Official Holidays in Southeast Asia

3 May 2017: Buddhas Birthday
Buddha's Birthday, the birthday of the Prince Siddhartha Gautama, is a holiday traditionally celebrated in Mahayana Buddhism. In Korea the birthday of Buddha is celebrated according to the Lunisolar calendar. Lotus lanterns cover the entire temple throughout the month which are often flooded down the street. On the day of Buddha's birth, many temples provide free meals and tea to all visitors. The breakfast and lunch provided are often sanchae bibimbap.

28 October: Chung Yeung Festival

According to the I Ching, nine is a yang number; the ninth day of the ninth lunar month has too much yang and is thus a potentially dangerous date. Hence, the day is also called "Double Yang Festival". To protect against danger, it is customary to climb a high mountain, drink chrysanthemum wine, and wear the zhuyu plant, Cornus officinalis.

DO


  • Take care when interpreting the word “yes”. It means that the person you are talking to has understood and heard what you have said, but that they will think about it and the answer has not yet been given.
  • Avoid conflict by talking about topics which have nothing to do with the current discussion.
  • Invest in good clothing in the business context. In Malaysia, great value is attached to a neat outfit.


DON’T


  • Put someone’s business card into your pocket mindlessly. Take the card with both hands and study it thoroughly. Business cards should be given to Indians and Malays with the right hand.
  • Say excessive compliments to women and children but certainly ask questions about work and school.
  • Show that you are angry or upset. Try to stay friendly and remain calm.


Of course, the ICUnet.AG does not want to introduce any stereotypes, but only identify tendencies that may apply to a larger share of the Southeast Asia population, but of course not to all.

Australia and Oceania

Describing Oceania and Australia from a European, say “our” perspective, we would undoubtedly locate both areas at “the back of beyond”. Yet, every description or location of this kind is in the eye of the beholder. Taking Peter Jackson’s blockbuster, we have watched the battle of middle earth. By this description, we might say that we are about to come “closer” regarding a business related context. Apart from kiwis, the dreamtime, the outback, rain forests or golden costs, there is a strong and constantly rising center of trade and commerce that characterizes Down Under. Nonetheless, with native inhabitants such as Maori or Aborigines being deeply enrooted in cultural tradition and representing a major part of the population, you should bring a great deal of tact when you aim to get involved into business life there.

You do not just target to get busy in sheep farming in New Zealand? Rather more, you toy with the idea to plunge into the business ocean that takes place in Oceania and Australia? Are you facing intercultural challenges handling with obviously distant business partners? The icunet is offering you support in attaining proximity. By the help of our intercultural consultants your expatriates will easily take the hurdle of cultural distance. If you seek to lift your Global Mobility to top-performing do not hesitate to get in touch with our Regional Center of Expertise for Oceania & Australia. We are looking forward to assisting you!

Official Holidays in Australia

25 April: Anzac Day
Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders "who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations" and "the contribution and suffering of all those who have served." Originally 25 April every year was to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

12 March 2018: Canberra Day
Canberra Day is a public holiday held annually on the second Monday in March in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) to celebrate the official naming of Canberra. Canberra was named at a ceremony on 12 March 1913 by Lady Denman, the wife of the then Governor-General Lord Denman.

DO


  • Wear casual clothing unless you are going to a business function.
  • Feel comfortable being addressed by your first name, even right after meeting someone. Greeting like ‘G’day’ or ‘G’day mate!’ are expectable.
  • Bring your own wine or beer when invited to someone’s home for a party.


DON’T


  • Push ahead of others when lining up, and ‘jump the queue’ is not at all tolerated. Queue up when you are waiting in turn for something.
  • Be late if invited to dinner, and don't be more than fifteen minutes late if invited to a barbecue or a big party. Put your elbows on the table when eating.


Of course, the ICUnet.AG does not want to introduce any stereotypes, but only identify tendencies that may apply to a larger share of the Oceania & Australia population, but of course not to all.