Chinese Business Etiquette

-In business and throughout Chinese culture in general, deference should be extended to persons of higher age and rank.

-Do not compliment a Chinese on his “good” English. Chinese people are conservative with compliments; and to compliment a person on something as mundane as his speech may be interpreted as an inability to find anything else more worthy of compliment.

-Business cards should be presented and received with both hands. Bilingual business cards should be presented with the side printed in Chinese facing upwards. When presented with a business card, it should be carefully read before being placed into a business card case, then into the chest pocket (Never into the wallet or pants pocket). When a business card is received while sitting at a table, it should remain face-up on the table until time to depart from the table.

-If a clerk offers money/change with both hands, it must be received with both hands.

-Boasting of one’s accomplishments is considered rude in China. And it is also regarded as rude to accept a compliment without first diminishing it.

-Modesty is prized in China. A gentleman of means who wishes to pay the entire bill for a group of diners (thereby displaying his financial wherewithal) would, for example, excuse himself from the table—as if going to use the restroom—in order to pay the bill discretely with the management.

-A foreign businessperson should allow his Chinese counterparts to leave the meeting first.


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