business etiquette

Chinese Business Etiquette – 19 Tips You Should Know

The business manners and practices of traditional Chinese society differ from those of Western society. Understanding Chinese business etiquette and regional customs is crucial to your success as you launch or grow your business in China.

Why? Because it’s essential to comprehend Chinese business etiquette to avoid making mistakes and offending your Chinese business partners (no one wants that),

You Can Get Started By Reading The Chinese Business Etiquette Advice Below.

Tips On Chinese Business Etiquette

  1. Greetings

Handshakes are common but wait for your Chinese counterpart to make the first move.

Regarding titles of courtesy, most people should be addressed with a title followed by their last name. Be cautious when using the word “comrade” unless, of course, you are a true communist.

2. Recognize how crucial face is.

When conducting business in China, the issue of the face is crucial. The expression “keeping face” is the best example of how to explain this idea.” In essence, you have the opportunity to gain or lose face in every interaction with Chinese people (much like a reputation does). Giving compliments to others, for instance, can help you gain face, whereas admitting failure will cause you to lose face. Be aware that face-building may take some time and take place over several meetings.

3. Prepare thoroughly for your meeting.

The Chinese are frequently very meticulous, so they will have done their research on your business and will anticipate that you will have done the same for yours. To avoid scheduling a meeting on a Chinese holiday that isn’t observed by Westerners, and to be clear about who will be making the final decisions regarding the business transaction, take the necessary precautions. Any meeting room specifications (technical, equipment, etc.) should also be sent.) to your Chinese colleagues long before the gathering itself.

4. Ceremony is vital

Being invited to a meeting or event by a dignitary, or receiving one, makes a Chinese person feel extremely honored. The formalization of contracts, the signing of agreements, and other similar rituals frequently take place in relaxed settings like bars or restaurants.

The main justification for this informal method of conducting business is the importance of mutual and long-term trust in Chinese business culture.

5. Create dependable printed materials.

If you intend to bring any materials to your meeting, print them all in plain black and white on high-quality paper because colors can convey different meanings in China than they do in the West. Chinese versions of flyers and business cards should be included as well (see point #4 below). Bring extra copies of printed materials at all times to prevent running out and upsetting any Chinese coworkers who don’t get one.

6. Identify whether a gift is appropriate.

Giving gifts is a touchy subject in Chinese business culture. The giving of gifts will be viewed as bribery by government officials, which is not only disrespectful but frequently outright illegal. Gift-giving regulations are becoming more relaxed in the business world, so giving a gift can be seen as a gesture of goodwill that will help establish a working relationship. Before making any purchases, do some research to determine whether giving gifts to specific Chinese colleagues would be appropriate or offensive (then learn about the numerous gift-giving customs in China).

7. Be aware of any language barriers.

Make sure to check in advance to see if your Chinese business partners can communicate in English, and if not, find a translation service. Be polite and provide a Chinese translation of any meeting materials or business cards you may have prepared to distribute. Hire a professional translator to ensure you don’t make any offensive translation mistakes when using these bilingual materials. Although the partners you’re meeting with may be able to communicate with you in English, it’s important to respect them as well because it’s their superiors who will ultimately decide whether or not to proceed with the deal.

Chinese business etiquette

8. Dress respectfully.

Ensure that you are dressed appropriately for your business meeting. In China, top-level management and the majority of government officials attend meetings dressed formally, while mid-level and lower-level employees can dress more casually. When in doubt, put on a suit to convey respect. Women should never wear low-cut tops because it is considered an unattractive choice by both men and women in Chinese business. Darker, muted colors are acceptable while bright colors should be avoided.

9. Show up on time.

In any business setting, punctuality is crucial, but in Chinese business culture, it is even more crucial. Being late is disrespectful and offensive. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the meeting; if you encounter issues, you’ll be grateful for the extra time.

10. Follow the correct procedure when entering the room.

With a long history of reverence for authority, the Chinese typically enter a room in a hierarchical order. You walk into the room and follow their practice with your own teammates. Seniority should be entered in ascending order, starting with the person with the most seniority and moving down to the next highest rank.

11. Introduce yourself formally.

It is customary for Chinese businesspeople to nod or bow when greeting one another (beginning with senior-level businesspeople); however, handshakes are increasingly popular. Let the Chinese person go first when shaking hands. Additionally, use formal titles like Chairman and Vice President.) followed by surnames (i.e. When addressing your business partners abroad, use (Li or Zhang). When using their full names, people place their last name before their given or first name. Chinese businesspeople frequently pronounce their name last, followed by their title and the name of their company.

12. Engage in small talk.

Chinese people prefer to conduct business with people they know and trust, so even the art of small talk prior to a meeting is valued highly. Asking you if you’ve eaten or where you’ve been recently is a common greeting from the Chinese. Almost anything pertaining to Chinese culture (art, history, etc.) is acceptable for discussion.), weather, and personal or family topics.

13. You may be asked more direct personal questions.

Although many Chinese people are now learning to respect the Western concept of privacy, some can still be very direct in their questioning. As a result, inquiring about someone’s personal details like age is not frowned upon in China.’, ‘How much do you make?’ or ‘Are you married?’.

14. Avoid making unnecessary noises, body contact, or hand gestures.

Use your open palm to indicate rather than your index finger because Chinese people don’t speak with their hands. It’s rude to put your hand in your mouth, so never do it. Additionally, the Chinese find it impolite to make sounds like clicking your fingers, whistling, and even blowing your nose with a handkerchief that you then tuck back into your pocket. They also dislike physical contact like back slaps and arms touching.

15. Maintain your poise and composure.

Maintaining your composure at all times is part of Chinese business etiquette, even if you become agitated or excited by a situation. It’s crucial to keep a proper posture throughout all business interactions. For instance, refrain from slouching or placing your feet on the table in addition to the impolite hand gestures mentioned above.

16. Observe the conventions of the meeting.

All attendees will take their seats after the meeting’s host. The host will usually present his or her side first, followed by a senior member of your team, and in many cases, senior-level members from both sides will take the lead. Usually, lower-level coworkers only offer their opinions and more details when requested.

17. Business cards are traded.

Giving out business cards is part of doing business in China, just like it is in the West. However, the Chinese present their cards with both hands and always to the person in the position of authority first; be sure to follow this custom. Before storing received cards in a professional location (such as a briefcase but never a purse or wallet), take a polite moment to inspect them. Additionally, as previously mentioned, make your business card bilingual and clearly state your title of professional respect for your Chinese counterparts.

18. Let’s let the Chinese go first.

Wait until the meeting is over and the host stands up before doing the same, as this is another considerate action on your part. In a hierarchical fashion, the Chinese will leave the meeting in the order they entered. A Chinese colleague may catch you breaking ranks at the conclusion of the business negotiations, so make sure your team departs in the proper order as well.

19. Be prepared to wait for a reply.

Once more, the Chinese place a high value on establishing personal connections with their business partners. This indicates that they won’t wrap up a business deal after just one meeting. Don’t ask about deadlines or remind your international colleagues about them because it’s common for Chinese negotiators to continue discussions past set deadlines.

Business Mentality

–Chinese business people will expect you to be well prepared for the meeting. When you are ready to distribute your proposal, make sure you have at least 20 copies available. Keep in mind that presentation materials should only be in black and white; do not use color.

Small talk is considered particularly important at the beginning of a meeting.

They prefer to establish a strong relationship before closing a deal, so you might have to meet up several times to achieve your objectives.

It is vital for you to maintain composure during meetings. A business negotiation may suffer if one causes embarrassment or displays excessive emotion.

Regarding decision-making, Chinese negotiators frequently go well beyond the set deadline in an effort to gain an advantage. Accept their delays and avoid bringing up deadlines as a precaution for that. Your perseverance will be greatly valued!

People in China usually enter the meeting room in hierarchical order. Therefore, use caution because they will believe that the first of you to enter the room is the delegation’s leader!

Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, are the business hours.

Many Chinese workers take a break between 12:00 and 2:00 pm, during which almost everything stops working – from lifts to phone services.

The following times are the ideal ones to book an appointment: In addition, September through October.

The Bottom Line

Doing business in China offers your company the chance to develop and grow, but you must do it properly if you want to strike a deal with your international competitors.

You’ll be well on your way to forming a successful partnership with one of the most potent nations in all of Asia if you heed this business etiquette advice from China. I sincerely hope you find this article useful. Wish you success!

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