GARY | Chinese trade groups are coming to Indiana every month seeking locations for Chinese companies to set up shop, an official with the American China Society of Indiana told Gary Chamber of Commerce members at Monday's monthly meeting.

Jenny Massey, vice president of the Indianapolis-based ACSI, substituted for featured speaker Albert Chen, the ACSI president who was called to New York. The ACSI is an independent, nonprofit organization supported by vested individuals, corporations and economic development groups.

Massey said Chinese companies prefer doing business in Indiana for several major reasons, including low property taxes and abatements, a central national location, excellent logistics and a good labor pool.

"Incentives can't make a bad site good, but incentive can provide a significant reduction in costs (of setting up and doing business)," she said. "The Chinese think of themselves as 'middle people.' I tell them that Indiana is the 'middle kingdom'."

The business culture in America and in Chinais different and those differences that can sink a business deal between American and Chinese interests, Massey said.

"America has a culture of self-expression. We show our emotions.," she said. "There are no words in Chinese for 'yes' or ‘no'. The Chinese have an ambiguous expression of joy or sorrow."

American business is based on the pursuit of profits under the law and contracts. Chinese business is based on Guanxi or "relationships." The Chinese do business based on vast networks of contacts and building trust, Massey said.

American companies often have contracts that are 100 or more pages long. The Chinese often do without contracts and the longest ones are three to four pages, Massey said.

"Those contracts are always shifting," she said.

"Get legal counsel and a translator," Massey said. "It will be money well spent."

For more information about the ACSI, visit www.chinaindiana.org.