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Mongolian Business culture

By Anning
Basic information
Mixed Parliamentary/Presidential
Khalkha Mongol 90%, Turkic, Russian
BuddhistLamaist50%, Shamanist and Christian 6%, Muslim 4%, none 40%
Mongol (mostlyKhalkha) 94.9%, Turkic (mostly Kazakh) 5%, other (including Chinese and Russian) 0.1%
Mongolia, located in Northern Asia, betweenChinaandRussiais thelargest landlocked country in the world. The capital,Ulaanbaatar(Red Hero), is situated in central eastMongolia. The city spreads from east to west along a largewide valley.Urguu, the first capital of the recent Mongolian Empire, was located around420 kmfromUlaanbaatar. It was the home ofZanabazar, who had been proclaimed as head of Buddhism inMongolia.

The Mongolian history has been recorded for centuries in oral epics, sung by bards, until writing was introduced nearly 800 years ago. Little is known about the earliest inhabitants inMongolia, but archaeological findings of uncovered human remains in theGobiand other regions are dating back nearly 500,000 years. Agriculture seems to have preceded nomadic herding of animals, and despiteMongolia’s short summers, wheat-growing has co-existed with nomadic life for thousands of years. It was after the Mongols began to tame horses, yaks and camels that they took to a nomadic herding lifestyle.

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Mongoliagained fame in the 13th century whenChinggisKhan conquered a huge Eurasian empire. AfterChinggisKhan was the empire divided into several powerful Mongolian states, but the states brokeapart in the 14th century.Mongoliacame later under Chinese rule. The country won its independence in 1921 with Soviet backing. In1924 acommunist regime was installed. The MPRP (ex-Communist Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party) won elections in 1990 and 1992, but was defeated by the Democratic Union Coalition in the 1996 parliamentary election. In 2000, parliamentary elections returned the MPRP overwhelmingly to power, and produced a coalition government in 2004.

Mongolia consists of 21 provinces and 1 municipality;Arhangay,Bayanhongor, Bayan-Olgiy,Bulgan,Darhan-Uul,Dornod,Dornogovi,Dundgovi,Dzavhan,Govi-Altay,Govisumber,Hentiy,Hovd,Hovsgol,Omnogovi,Orhon,Ovorhangay,Selenge,Suhbaatar, Tov,Uvs, and Ulaanbaatar (municipality).

Economic activity inMongoliahas traditionally been based on herding and agriculture.Mongoliahas extensive mineral deposits; gold, tungsten, copper, tin, coal, and molybdenum, account for a large part of industrial production.China,RussiaandJapanareMongolia’s main trading partners.

Today isMongoliaa modern country where people drive their fancy land cruisers, while talking to their trendy mobile phone. Economic growth has been encouraging, while the elections of 2004 shows that democracy is really ruling the country.

Mongoliajoined the World Trade Organization in 1997, and seeks to expand its participation and integration into Asian regional economic and trade regimes.

Greetings are formal and the oldest person is always greeted first.Handshakes are the most common form of greeting with foreigners.Many Mongolians will look towards the ground when greeting someone.

Most foreign citizens need a Mongolian visa to enter the country (exceptions; US,Israel,Malaysia,Philippines,PolandandSingapore). A formal business invitation will also be needed, issued by the Mongolian company.

Contact should therefore be made prior to the visa application. Communication is formal.

At this stage you should find out:
what language your counterpart prefers for the meeting
if your counterpart will provide for an interpreter, as Mongolian interpreters may be difficult to find elsewhere in the world
Mongolians like doing business with companies they know, so working through an intermediary is crucial.

Avoid scheduling appointments close to public holidays.

Prepare you presentation in detail. Make handouts, and copies of documents and prospect. Forward presentation material (in the languageprefered) that describe your company, its history, and literature about your products and services. Forward alsoyour agenda and the biography of the representatives in your group.

The Mongolians might use intermediaries to ask questions that they would prefer not to make directly.

Punctuality is vital, so arrive in time for the meeting.

Remember always; roll down the sleeves before you are being introduced to an older person or before you receive or pass anything.

Move clockwise in the room and greet everybody. Greetings are formal. The oldest person or highest ranked is always greeted first.

Do not turn your back to or walk in front of an older person.

To the Mongolian greetingSainbainuu(how are you, should you answerSain!(fine!).

Be aware that Mongolians always try to avoid unpleasant topics in general, therefore, should you have any bad news it is important to address themtactfully as possible later in the meeting.

Address the person by an honorific title and their surname. If they want to move to a first-name basis, they will advise you which name to use.

Listen carefully, and try to remember their names. Address the persons by their formal title and their surnames. If they wish to move to a first-name basis, let they advise you which name to use.

If you plan to discuss legal or extremely technical concepts, it is imperative that you have informed the interpreter in advance.

Traditionally, conversations start with small talk. A conversation should begin with an inquiry about family, livestock, health, etc,Thenyou may discuss business.
Communication is official, especially in dealing with someone of higher rank. If you behave too informally, especially in front of their peers, you may well ruin a potential deal. Business relationships are builtformally after the Mongolians learn to know you.

Do not expect to conclude your business swiftly, because it takes a considerable amount of time and is bound up with bureaucracy.

Meetings withMongolian businessmenrequire patience. Mobile phones may ring frequently.

The most important member of your group should lead the negotiations, as theMongolians valuestatus and rank.

The decisions making process is slow, as they require careful review and consideration.

Be aware that Mongolians are non-confrontational. Under no circumstances should you lose your temper or use high-pressure tactics. It will result in finding yourself outmanoeuvred, and it will irrevocably damage your relationship.

Mongolian negotiations are process oriented. They want to determine if a relationship can develop to a stage where both parties are comfortable doing business with the other.

When shaking hands, do not shake hands with your gloves on. Remove the gloves even if it is -30 degrees!
After entering ager, you should always move around the stove in a clockwise direction.Do not lean against furniture of the ger wall.

Squat or kneel on the floor and if seated on a stool, tuck you feet underneath. Do not stick your feet straight out in front of you.

Do not show the bottom of your feet when sitting down in close proximity to another, it is considered offensive.

It is impolite to put your feet or shoes on chairs and tables.

When you enter ager, do not step on the threshold. Remember, guests move in a clockwise direction to the west and north. The women’s side is to the east side of theger, and men’s side is to the west.

Mount and dismount a horse from the left side.

It is rude for a woman to sit cross-legged in ager.

If Mongolians spillairag, milk or dairy products on the ground, they will dip their fingers into it and touch it lightly to their forehead.

Do not whistle insidegersor any kind of building.

When offering a drink, consider it is better to present a cup without cracks or a damaged rim.

It is rude to walk across an area where women are milking their cows.

Usually, you must not give things to others by holding the item between the lateral edges of your fingers.

When Mongolians arrive at ager, they yell: Hold your dog!, or simply enter. This, because everygeris protected by a guard dog.

Avoid standing up when drinking tea or beverages.

Avoid sitting at the corner of the table. It is believed to ensure a lonely life.

If you step on of touch someone else’s foot, offer the person a quick handshake.

It is oddly redundant to say; How are you?to the same person more than once in the same day.

Mongolians tend to touch each other, even those they do not know.

Mongolians do not like cats. If one crosses their path, they spit over their shoulder several times.

If Mongolians see a shooting star, they believe someone is dying, and so spit over their shoulder and say: It is not my star!
Some Mongolians have names like Not This, No Name, Vicious Dog. These names are given them because of problems the family had with a child before the child was born. The names thus become taboo, misfortune is avoided, and evil spirits are confused.

If food or other items are placed out when a group sits together, it is communal property. As a cigarette packet placed on the table, it belongs to the group.

When offering cigarettes, you should also offer to light it. Cigarettes as gifts must be accompanied by matches. Two people may lit their cigarettes from one match, but three is not permitted.

Do not throw trash into an existing fire. Save it to start the next fire.

Books, papers, hand bags and valuables should not be left on the floor.

Hats should always be placed with the open end down. A man’s hat and belt should never be placed on the floor, and should not touch other hats or belts.

Do not touch another person’s hat
Do not take your hat off when entering ager
If given a gift or food in a container expected to be returned, do not return the container to its owner empty.Put something in it, such as candy.

If dairy products are given to you, return the container with rice.

If you take a person’s photograph, you should give that person a copy.

Economic activity inMongoliahas traditionally been based on herding and agriculture, although development of extensive mineral deposits of copper, coal,molybdenum, tin, tungsten, and gold have emerged as a driver of industrial production. Soviet assistance, at its height one-third of GDP, disappeared almost overnight in 1990-91 at the time of the dismantlement of the U.S.S.R., leading to a very deep recession. Economic growth returned due to reform embracing free-market economics and extensive privatization of the formerly state-run economy. Severe winters and summer droughts in 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 resulted in massive livestock die-off and anemic GDP growth of 1.1% in 2000 and 1% in 2001. This was compounded by falling prices forMongolia’s primary-sector exports and widespread opposition to privatization. Growth improved to 4% in 2002, 5% in 2003, 10.6% in 2004, 6.2% in 2005, and 7.5% in 2006. Because of a boom in the mining sector,Mongoliahad high growth rates in 2007 and 2008 (9.9% and 8.9%, respectively). Due to the severe 2009-2010 winter,Mongolialost 9.7 million animals, or 22% of total livestock. This immediately affected meat prices, which increased twofold; GDP dropped 1.6% in2009. Growth began anew in 2010, with GDP increasing 25.3% over 2009 asMongoliaemerged from the economic crisis. GDP growth in 2011 was expected to reach 16.4%. However, inflation continued to erode GDP gains, with an average rate of 12.6% expected inMongoliaat the end of 2011 and higher rates anticipated in 2012 as the government increases transfer and spending programs prior to the June 2012 parliamentary elections.


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