Who are Chinese? (Doing Business in China)

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Write it down if you have to. Take note that in China, the family name, or surname, is listed first, followed by the given name. When you ask a Chinese person for their name, they will very carefully pronounce their family name while often giving little importance to — or even omitting entirely — their given name. Wang to show respect. When you first greet a Chinese person in a business context, a traditional handshake is sufficient for both men and women.

Traveling in China – Business Etiquette and Culture

There is no need for the additional touching, kissing, or bowing that is present in some other Asian cultures. It is common for business meetings to start a bit late or to begin with the serving of hot tea. Meetings in China are often slow to start and require a good amount of relationship building before diving into the main topic of conversation. This is important, especially for foreign business people who value being quick, straightforward, and on time with their meetings. This may be considered rude. It is often — although not always — a good idea to take time at the beginning of the meeting to build that relationship and find ways to give face where appropriate.


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For men, the normal business attire looks similar to most western countries. A button-down shirt with slacks and nice shoes is expected, while a jacket and tie would be considered formal. During the summer months, when the heat in China can be brutal in many regions, it is common wear either short sleeved button-down shirts or a polo. This dress code applies not only in the office but also during any informal gathering, such as meals and banquets. The dress code for women is usually a simple blouse and skirt, although pant suits are becoming more and more common.

Jewelry is perfectly acceptable and makeup is expected to be worn.


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  6. For those who are prone to sweat, it is advised that you take along a handkerchief, a small towel, or even an emergency change of clothes. The giving of gifts plays a small part in the culture of building relationships for business in China. In the past, this used to be a major part of doing business in the country, but over the past decade, China has cracked down on rampant corruption stemming from gift-giving. While giving a large gift might bring honor to your business counterpart in China, it also comes with the expectation to return a gift in kind.

    Why you should be doing business in China

    If government limitations preclude them from returning such a gift, they may lose face. For example, bringing a bottle of wine from a vineyard near your hometown or a special local delicacy would be both simple and personal. For a female counterpart, giving a nice skincare product from home can be a welcome gesture, or you could even consider giving the skincare product to a male businessman who is married.

    It may seem silly, but the ability to gift his wife a foreign skincare product could be a huge face-giving gesture. For more business gift ideas, read through this China business gift guide. The tradition of the Chinese business banquet is a long and storied one, but like the tradition of gift-giving, it has seen extensive change because of the government crackdown on graft. In many cases, lavish banquets have been replaced by moderate meals in order to limit over-spending that could raise eyebrows.

    If you do find yourself at a Chinese banquet, you can expect to be seated at a large, round table with a Lazy Susan in the middle. The head of the table is wherever the highest-ranking attendee sits and positioning around the table goes in order of importance. Food is served as plates of cold dishes first, followed by the hot food.

    As the food passes by on the Lazy Susan, use your chopsticks or a spoon to grab it and put on your personal plate. An experienced business person in China will take their time and eat slowly, knowing that a Chinese banquet is a marathon and the food seems to never stop coming.


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    6. Abstaining from the consumption of alcohol is possible but will likely require a lot of willpower and a little bit of relationship capital — refusing a drink could cause the host to lose face. The purpose of a banquet is to solidify the business relationship and pulling out paperwork for signature shows a lack of good faith.

      Generally speaking, China is a very safe country. Visitors should take the same precautions in China that they would in any international country they visit. The best advice you can follow is to dress modestly and stay with a group.

      10 Top Tips for Doing Business in China

      You will likely be applying for a Chinese M visa, a document reserved for those doing business and trade in China. This letter will come from the trade fair, company, or client you are you coming to visit and must be on official header and stamped with the official seal company chop. Most M visas allow for a 30 day stay in China and can be valid for up to 10 years.

      For more travel tips to help you prepare for China, check out Travel to China Everything You Need to Know Before You Go , a handbook which helps pre-trip planning and setting of expectations before you land in China.

      Advantages of doing business in China

      Josh Summers is an author and entrepreneur who has been traveling and doing business in China since The firm assists foreign investors throughout China and Asia and has done so since Doing Business in China is designed to introduce the fundamentals of investing in China. With its wide range of industries, growing market, and increasing spending power, China is a wise choice for anyone seeking expansion in business. It is vital to correctly translate and localise any material that is required, into the correct form of Chinese required.

      As well as being a self-confessed language geek and baking fanatic, Fiona is the Digital Marketing Manager at Capita Translation and Interpreting. When she's not writing blogs, she often dreams of touring France one patisserie at a time. Why you should be doing business in China. Online shopping and mobile It is no secret that getting in early can be the difference between success and blending into the market. Automotive success China is also the largest car market in the world, with an expected 30 million domestic cars to be sold by Doing business in China infographic For more tips on doing business in China, view the infographic below.

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