Understanding Chinese Business Etiquettes
You must be well informed about the Chinese business etiquettes before packing your luggage for this purpose. In this context, some important manners are explained below:
1. Greetings in China:
To make a business successful in China, one should learn some of the regional languages like “ni hao” (Hello), “nali” (Where), “xièxie” (Thanks) and other words so that the words can please the Chinese counterpart or business partner. Among the Asian countries, Chinese people maintain their customs everywhere. A “Thank you” therefore may sound as little arrogant when a bowing can fix the issue. For some Westerners the custom may sound like little awkward but that is indeed a part of the culture.
2. Name Cards in China:
In the name cards, both the individuals i.e. you and your Chinese business fellow will be required to hand over each other their business cards. Be very vigilant and have a quick glance over the exchanged card because as per Chinese ethics you must be addressing the person by asking question in reference to some information displayed over it. Also, be careful to exchange these with both hands otherwise it is counted as a "disrespect" gesture. While handing over the business card to the other person, give in a way that it rightly faced towards him not you. Read the exchanged business card, smile and then nod, no matter it’s in Chinese which you can’t understand.
Follow the timeline and be there in the meeting at the stipulated time.
Don’t forget to address your business colleagues professionally – with their name and business title.
You need to keep in mind how Chinese welcome and greet each other, in case they don’t extend their hand don’t be sad and let it go. A young lady holds both hand and just nodes.
Don’t shake hands tightly but softly for a while. Some business colleagues might give you an impression of impoliteness but don’t take it seriously or think bad. Also, don’t hug while meeting someone for the first time.
3. Dinning Manners in China:
In Chinese culture, table manners are very much relaxed. However they demand a high level of hospitality as an empty platter or an empty glass of your guests conveys a message of disregard towards them. It is also advisable to place the name cards of each guests on the dinner table for easy recognition but afterwards don’t forget to put these cards back in your pocket
Get ready to receive an invitation even in the last hour.
A Chinese dinner is not a simple quick finish but a long one as it is aimed to strengthen your ties both social and business.
Wait for your host to allocate you a seat. The most important guest gets the protocol of sitting next to the host. Also, don’t fill your platter yourself and let the host serve you with food. Try to eat a bit from all food provided, do not eat too much rice, you may feel full too soon. If you have any medical condition or allergies or if you can’t eat particular food because of religious belief, it is ok to mention. Same for the alcohol, if you can’t drink just say you have an allergy.
Never ever stick the chopsticks straight up in a rice bowl like joss sticks used in religious ceremonies or when someone dies. So its better that you know beforehand how to use chopsticks. You can be enjoying your lunch/dinner freely; in case you can’t eat with chop sticks – no issues. Frankly ask for a fork to finish your meal.
Keep in mind that Chinese people usually don’t take the last piece of any food because it may bring bad luck. You may do so as well if your host offers it, it is ok to take. Another reason linked with the same “Not to Take Last Morsel” philosophy is that your hosts might feel they didn’t provide enough food so they will order again.
Finally, don’t forget to express your interest to hosting the next dinner to gain face.