Everything You Need To Know About Chinese Business Etiquette. Part 1

It is imperative to learn the basics about Chinese business etiquette; their culture, values, religion, food habits, dress code, meeting protocol and techniques of negotiation before proceeding on the trip.

China ranks first in world population, and Chinese businesspeople are known for giving great value for relationships and status. A growing economy and a focus on international relations provide excellent opportunities for conducting business in China.

At the outset, you should know that Chinese cannot tolerate excessive display of emotion or loud and abrasive manners. Religion also plays a vital role in day-to-day activities and has great impact on business.

Status and Confucianism

You will also find that Confucian philosophy plays a major role in business; this is a holistic way of looking at how life itself is organized. Confucianism assigns great importance to an individual’s role and how they fulfill that role, and as a result status is very important to them.

Sending a junior team member to the negotiating table for example, would be a major offense. Age and relationship also play an important role in deciding a deal. If you are an elderly person with a good family background, then your job becomes easy.

In keeping with this philosophy, you will find that your Chinese business counterparts are the kind of people who expect loyalty in relationships. Like most countries outside of the U.S., business is never just about business. Before actually talking about your business, you will spend time discussing your family, friends and your hobby, and you may be invited to an introductory dinner (where it is likely that no business will be discussed at all). Establishing a rapport before conducting business is essential for any dealing in China.

Always behave in such a way that the host feels you are very interested in knowing things about their business, the host personally as an individual, and their country. Politeness and patience, and careful attention to business etiquette in China are vital to success. Always maintain a cordial and formal tone in your conversation.

Make a successful Initial contact

  • To begin with, Chinese will always keep their appointments and are punctual in nature. So, plan your trip accordingly and arrange to be on time or even early for your meeting.
  • Address the person by his family’s name to create a good impression.
  • The standard business greeting is to extend both hands for a double-handed handshake. Chinese make many meaningful gestures using the hand and palm, and an open palm is an indication of goodwill.
  • It is suggested to look out for a middleman or junior partner for a pre-meeting discussion, so you can gain more information about your host, who will be the senior negotiator.