Business Etiquette in China

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By Adrian Cruce

The business habit and custom of China is at variance as compared to those of the general routine. If your future business expansion plans have China on the list, understanding the Chinese business etiquette is significant for its success. Realizing and adapting to the common culture of those you are going to deal with helps you start with a charismatic outlook and not forgetting the famous adage the first impression is the last.

Business Etiquette

Businessman Series

While this post will give you the basic definition of business etiquette in China, you will be learning more whilst applying them practically with the business people who are in fact very welcoming themselves. They understand that visiting foreigners are new to the Chinese business and will avoid trivial manner mistakes – as the people of any country would – given that your motives are sincere and your general behavior courteous.

The Theme

The core aspect of any culture is its theme. In simpler words, this refers to the values people belonging to that culture highly respect. Following are the main features of the Chinese.

  • Regard for seniors both in age and rank – remember that the second one is of great importance when transacting with government executives
  • Tolerance
  • Civility
  • Generosity
  • Punctuality
  • Advancing Towards the Chinese Market

The Approach

The approach of the Chinese business etiquette, unlike that of others, appreciates personal relations along with commercial encounters. It is vital to build and maintain a good private bond with the important contacts and government officials. In order to build new helpful connections, the ideal route is to attend industry networking events and observe how people introduce themselves and follow these guidelines.

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The Business Environment

Even though numerous outsiders have successfully expanded their businesses in China, there are also those who have been deceived through scams and prefer to look elsewhere for a proper business environment. Like anywhere in the world, China is also infected by scam traps thus proper research and homework is necessary to safely conduct the dealings.

How to Attend Meetings

china business etiquette

As mentioned before, punctuality is one of the central values of the Chinese business etiquette and it goes without saying for any other community. Following are a few things that differ.

Language Barriers

Be aware of your clients’ English comprehension capacity. So as to avoid any conflict or miscalculations, the standard tactic is to have your personal interpretation for their language.

The Calendar

 We are well aware that China follows a calendar of their own and they have a few national holidays different than others. Make a note of these days and mark them on your calendar.

Other minor characteristics, such as the business material, the dress code, the introduction style etc. should also be catered according to their preference.

How to Dine

china business dining

The easy way out of this chore is to simply follow the host, let him begin and observe if you couldn’t practice beforehand. However, if you have the time and interest to be prepared then do proper research before attending a dinner.

It is the Chinese tradition to offer a lot of food to the guests. In dining scenarios the host tends to offer every dish that is served but this does not mean you have to eat it all against your will. However only tasting a little of everything is considered as a sign of respect.

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Following these simple guidelines will help you leave a charismatic impression on your clients and it will definitely allure them to deal with you for their best interest.