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Business Tips

Basic Business Etiquette of Dos and Don'ts in China

Below is a list of basic dos and dont's of business etiquette to give you some insights on the subtleties of Chinese cultures. Being aware of them ensures you have greater odds of success in China.



1. Punctuality is vital in doing business in China so make every possible effort to arrive early before any business meeting.

2. The Chinese prefer to do business with people they know or at least known through an intermediary. Hence, establishing local contacts can be important.

3. In China, family name comes first followed by the given name. It's customary to address someone by his/her family name and title.

4. Distribute your business card with both hands holding the sides of the card and ensure that the writing(better with side printed in simplified Chinese) facing the recipient with a slight bow.

5. Also received cards with both hands and a slight bow.

6. Have your business cards printed English on one side and Chinese on the other side. Be sure that the Chinese must be proofread by someone who not only

7. Dress conservatively for business meetings. China is a very conservative country culturally.

8. Gentle hand-shake and a slight bow with the Chinese. Vigorous shaking and hugging is considered impolite.

9. In China, banqueting and drinking are very much part of the business process. Many business deals are done on the dinner table.

10. Learn the art of eating with chopsticks and table spoon. It will give a good impression to your host how considerate you are to learn the culture.

11. Drinking plays no small part too. If you prefer not to drink alcohol, make it clear to your host right at the beginning. Once you start drinking alcohol, you are expected to continue.



1. Don't give a Chinese men a green hat as a gift as it means that his wife has been unfaithful to him and make him wearing a green hat (Celtics fans be beware of this!)

2. Don't give clock to a Chinese as a gift as "giving clock" literally sound in Chinese as "wishing the recipient of the clock to die soon".

3. Don't immediately put business card in a pocket or wallet, which is considered rude in China.

4. Don't insult or openly criticize someone in front of others; it is very important for Chinese people to "saving face".

5. Don't make fun at someone, even if it is fun.

6. Don't stare at your Chinese counterpart. It may make him/her feel uncomfortable.

In summary, when in China, do what the Chinese do... When in doubt, ask the local. It's better to do your research first than to lose it all due to the ignorance of certain formalities and taboos. For more information about China, please contact us.

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