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Business Culture

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With a history rich in clan and tribal relations, business in modern Kazakhstan is still based on personal relationships

Overall cultural differences

Kazakhstan is typical multi-ethnic state, in which in addition to the Kazakhs (approximately 62.8% of the total population) representatives of many other nationalities are living, preserving their language, cultural and historical values. This includes: Russians (24%), Ukrainians (2.1%), Uzbeks (2.9%), Tatars (1.3%), the Uighurs (1.4%), Germans (1.1%), as well as representatives of other nationalities (4.4%).  Kazakh is the official language in the country; Russian is widely spoken and used in all business and social related aspects of the country

How to greet and talk to each other?

Kazakhs are most often used to greeting with quite soft handshake, sometimes with the use of both hands, which is accompanied by a smile and an eye contact

The "principle of seniority" can be observed in almost all situations. Young people should have respect for "seniors" and always be ready, if necessary, to assist them

Are there any special dress codes?

Participants of business meetings from Kazakhstan always choose clothes according to the Western business style

What should you consider in business meetings?

In business negotiations Kazakhs prefer to come on time, but do not expect them to end up the business meeting at the appointed time. Kazakhs like to speak slowly, paying attention to detail, to ensure the reliability of its partners. Therefore, negotiations in Kazakhstan - it is a long process that requires patience

Are there any special negotiating techniques that work?

Consider the following:

  • Call your business counterparts by name and patronymic, but if you find it difficult to pronounce, you can ask for permission to address only by name. Without the permission addressing directly by name is considered to be impolite
  • Negotiations always take a long time, so be well prepared to discuss the details and sometimes start from the beginning
  • Maintain eye contact during the meetings
  • The hierarchical nature of the culture means that Kazakhs would like to meet people of similar rank/position
  • Kazakh’s are very hospitable people and enjoy hosting dinners at their homes

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