Chinese Business Etiquette

21 Aug Chinese Business Etiquette Broken Down

So many American companies do some sort of business in China, whether it be manufacturing or trading. Additionally, Chinese companies are deeply rooted in American business as well. Many Americans are employed by Chinese companies such as General Electric, Haier, Lenovo Computers and Motorola.

Chinese culture is very different from American culture, especially when it comes to business.

They Prioritize Timeliness

Business, Time, Clock, Clocks, Stock Exchange, Watch

Disregard for someone’s time is rude in any culture but it’s considered especially rude to be late for a meeting and not let anyone know you’re going to be late, says Santander.

In Chinese business etiquette, it’s crucial that if you are late, you apologize both on the phone and when you arrive.

Chinese businesses typically do not stick to a strict meeting time, adds Santander. They prefer a start time with no set end time.

Respect Your Elders

Analyzing People, Brainstorming, Business

Respect should be shown to both people older than you and those in higher positions than you.

Make sure you stand up when someone with superiority enters the room and offer your seat if there are no seats left, says World Business Culture.

The Proper Handshake for Chinese Business Etiquette

 Business, Office, Contract, Agreement, Deal

Just like the United States, handshaking is typical for business. However, in America and most western cultures, good eye-contact is part of a firm handshake.

Chinese people find it disrespectful to look someone in the eyes during a handshake. World Business Culture suggests looking down, as lowering your eyes is a sign of respect.


Gift, Give A Gift, Gift Box, Father'S Day, Man, Design

It’s very common for organizations to send a gift on their behalf to the head of the company.

However, there are a lot of rules to these gifts according to Oxford University;

  1. Present the gift with both hands
  2. Don’t be alarmed if your gift is not accepted on the first try, keep offering. They most likely will not open it in front of you, as well.
  3. Avoid things that are too expensive, it shouldn’t appear as though you’re attempting to bribe them.
  4. Wrap it well and only in red, pink, or gold.
  5. Be mindful of their lucky and unlucky numbers, such as 4 which is unlucky. Many “sets” in the U.S. are sets of four.

You’re well off getting a very nice bottle of whiskey or cognac. Very nice food, pens, stationery, or notebooks would work, as well.

If you’re interested in learning more about Chinese, check out some of the major differences between Chinese and English, here!

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