Aleksandar Ćamilović, Direktor Sektora radnih odnosa, HBIS Jelena Dragović Trebješanin, Generalni menadžer Ljudskih resursa i radnih odnosa, HBIS

What we can learn from China's business culture?

Today, 5 years later, after summarizing different impressions about the Company's business, as well as the approach of Chinese partners and introduction to their ideas and attitudes, we could conclude that, primarily when talking about China's business culture, the Chinese keep their word - what is agreed, must also be implemented. There is no subsequent change of the agreement, no excuses, no justifications, simply, what is agreed - is implemented.

Secondly, there is an impression that the Chinese are in no hurry. Of course, there are situations when it comes to short deadlines, the nature of work and when everything is dedicated to fulfilling the goal, but in general, unlike Europeans and Americans, there is no constant pressure on the employee to finish everything today and right away. We man say that this is probably a logical consequence of the fact that China is one of the oldest countries in the world (it has existed for over 4,000 years).

Another feature of Chinese business culture could be exceptional diligence and professionalism, as well as kindness in dealing with employees or business partners. You will not hear a raised tone, and the criticism, although expressed, is always gentle, advisory in nature, but stays in mind. The interlocutor is respected at all times, first as an individual, and then as a colleague, as part of the team.

A common denominator in our and Chinese business culture? It is difficult to answer that question precisely, there are more differences, since these are the perceptions of two civilizations. But we could mention a certain kind of righteousness, non-giving up, fighting for one's ideas and, above all, commitment to one's country, as well as constant work in its best interest.

However, as key differences, based on our previous experience, during almost five years of work with colleagues from China, we could mention the relationship with colleagues, working under pressure, attitude towards business meetings, approach to responsibilities related to work.

The Chinese will learn to at least greet you and ask how you are, in Serbian, not because they have to, but because they want to, in that way, they simply show respect for the country in which they are. You have noticed that every Chinese ambassador speaks Serbian fluently, and we are a small country in the world. On the other hand, in Serbia we do not have the habit of personalizing communication with business partners on our own.


Personal impression from China - during the seminar, the hostess stood in the hallway, in front of the door, for 90 minutes, without ever moving from that place. How do I know this? I personally went out several times, just to see if she was still standing in the same place. And she was. And she always smiled kindly and showed where the toilet was. She was simply told that it was her duty to stand there for 90 minutes and she would not move at all…


Given the nature of our industry, we have a constant need for candidates with higher education in the field of technical and technological sciences (FTM, FMG, FEE, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering), as well as for candidates in various executive positions (they have the highest fluctuation, as everywhere else in Serbia).

What is certainly appreciated is the high professionalism and expertise, but also the orientation towards constant process improvement and cost reduction. At “Železara”, employees have been lulled into the certainty of their jobs for years. Simply put, people in all other processes, except the production process, did not strive for innovation, improvement, cost reduction - the system has existed for 30 years and it is the best, and often the only option. That would be exactly the advice for someone who wants to work in a Chinese company: educate yourself, invest in yourself, think about the changes you can make in the company, the way you can reduce costs. These are some desirable traits for every Chinese employer.

In June 2016, HBIS GROUP Serbia Iron & Steel d.o.o. Beograd bought the property of "Železara" Smederevo and kept more than 5,000 employees, who until then worked in "Železara".