Increased globalization has made the world a smaller place. Businesses are rapidly growing and expanding their territories. As a business, you may find yourself doing business with the Chinese. If this is the case, it vital that you take time to understand the Chinese culture in business. There are various expectations and etiquette levels that need to be observed during your transition. When in China, language barriers, cultural expectations, and social etiquette are just some of the things that you need to keep in mind.
Chinese Meeting Formalities
During meetings, greetings are quite important when in China. Smiling and nodding are common types of greetings in official business meetings. Do not expect a handshake. A handshake is always initiated by your Chinese counterpart, not the other way around. When it comes to greetings, make sure that you familiarize yourself with the basic greeting and proper expressions. The Chinese will always appreciate anyone who can use Chinese words, even if it’s a few words. As you greet and address people, remember to always address with their titles followed by their surname. During official meetings, exchanging business cards will take place. In China, the exchange of business cards is something that is taken with much importance, so politely and carefully accept any business cards that you may be offered.
Chinese Dining Formalities
If you find that you are invited into a business dinner, it is vital that you quickly learn the Chinese culture in business. The seating order during Chinese dinner matters. Senior business people will always be seated first. As a visitor, you will need to wait and be shown where you will seat during the dinner. When it comes to eating, rank also plays a role. Do not start eating immediately, particularly before elders and seniors. When you start eating, don’t do it too quickly. Finish before everyone will signify that you are still hungry and more food will be added to your plate. If you invite someone for a meal or business lunch or dinner, you are expected to pay. When making the payment, avoid showing money in front of the guests.
Chinese Gift Formalities
Gifts are quite important in Chinese business culture. When you receive a gift, make sure to receive it with both hands. Do not open the gift immediately, unless requested. If you want to gift your Chinese counterpart, make sure that you know exactly what to gift to avoid offending anyone. For example, do not gift green hats, clock, or watches. The gift should also not be very expensive. If the person you are gifting is a government official, make sure that they do not mistake our gift for bribery.
Establishing a business in China is not as difficult as most people portray. Once you understand the Chinese culture in business, you will have an easier time integrating with their system. At the end of the day, you will be fully accustomed to their culture.