For actually doing business, not that much. But it could be an interesting thing to impress certain Asian business partners. Although younger and more educated people tend to not consider the horoscope (similarly to the West), it is still a concept present deep into Chinese culture (and Asian cultures in general).
The story of the Chinese horoscope
According to the most common legend about the zodiac, the Jade Emperor (the counterpart of the Emperor of China, but in heaven) had many animals participate to a race. According to the position of arrival, they would respectively get their own year before or after the others. For example, the rat arrived first, because he jumped off the second classified (the ox) just before crossing the end line. Likewise, other animals all have a specific explanation for their placement.
As we said, the Chinese horoscope is strongly present in many non-Chinese countries. It is found in the South-East Asian region, in Korea and in Japan, and its influence reached also the old nomadic people inhabiting Mongolia, Bulgaria and Central Asia.
What are the differences with Western Zodiac?
The differences with the western horoscope are pretty simple:
1. Chinese zodiac is based on giving each (lunar) year a different sign, while Western zodiac changes every month;
2. Chinese zodiac is based on a lunar calendar of 48 weeks, while Western zodiac is based on solar calendar (52 weeks);
3. According to Chinese zodiac, each person has 4 different signs (one for the year, one for the month, one for the day of the week and another for the hour). In Western zodiac there are two;
4. The Chinese zodiac is entirely based on animals, while the Western zodiac is not.
Tricks and Tips about the Chinese Horoscope
The general attitude towards horoscope is similar to the West. Keep in mind some people will believe it more seriously than others. While some will well appreciate a joke about it, others may not.
An interesting trick that some Chinese will use is to guess your age starting by your sign. For example, if you are a dog, you should be born in either 2016, 1994, 1982, 1970… and so on.
So it is quite easy to guess the right age as there are 12 years of difference between each option.
Check here for a table of the different sign according to the year.