Five Examples of Chinese Business Etiquette You Should Know
When dealing with new markets, proper business etiquette is crucial to gain the trust of your associates and impress any clients. If you are expanding your business to China, you can solve any cultural challenges with simple practices. You may need a little humility to succeed, but you don’t necessarily have to learn Chinese in Singapore. However, your Chinese counterparts will appreciate any attempt to use the language while communicating.
Being polite and humble forms the basis of the Chinese business etiquette. This culture depends on personal relationships to establish a peaceful working environment and offer social comfort in official settings. Your face value is critical and maintaining the right image is crucial. Take a look at five common examples of proper Chinese business etiquette that might be helpful to you:
- First impression
Like in any other formal setup, first impressions are essential in creating a lasting relationship. That starts from wearing the right type of dressing to introducing yourself. In Chinese business culture, official dark clothes are preferable than those with bright colors.
Besides wearing dark official clothes, Chinese professionals also value punctuality in meetings. Being punctual shows your dedication towards work and it also a good grip over your schedule. Keep in mind that while most of them won’t complain if you are late, your image may be negatively affected.
Before starting a meeting with Chinese professionals, it’s imperative to use a handshake to greet everyone in the room (or table). This polite gesture shows your readiness to establish personal ties with them and it helps you to advance the discussion quickly.
In the Chinese business world, an exchange of business cards follows the handshake, and it’s very crucial in establishing strong ties. Using both hands in this process is also seen as very respectful.
- Conversation Etiquette
When starting a conversation in China, small talk is essential. It helps you get the attention of your associates, and it’s an excellent chance to show your interest in Chinese culture, art or just about anything.
As your conversation progresses, it’s crucial to use a neutral tone and don’t let emotions escalate. Remember that the Chinese people are very reserved with their feelings in official settings. For example, getting angry in a meeting will make you lose face.
- Giving gifts
Offering gifts is one of the oldest Chinese business cultures. You should choose something that has a significant connection with your business partners and always avoid giving costly things. After all, you don’t want to make your associates uncomfortable.
- Dining etiquette
Most Chinese officials use food to show hospitality and build strong relationships. In most cases, business negotiations and deals take place over a meal to make you feel comfortable and develop a sense of belonging. That being the case, you should avoid starting to eat before others or finishing first.
People in China accept cultural differences and they don’t expect you to be a master in their business culture. However, knowing the most basic formalities will allow you to impress your contacts easily. Learning Mandarin in Singapore will certainly help, but how you interact and carry yourself will be far more important.