Global Business Culture – China

During business trips abroad, any helpful tips on culture or local customs come in handy when forging business relationships.
To kick off business culture series, let’s take a look at China.

The Importance of the Seating Plan at Chinese Business Meals

The secretary is frustrated with the assigned seats that the waitress has given to him and his company’s CEO. The two sought to avoid a situation where the CEO (who barely speaks Chinese) had to sit far from the Chinese speaking secretary. So the CEO politely asks the waitress to have his secretary seated right next to him since he needs assistance in Chinese.

As this episode demonstrates, Chinese table manners begin with the seating plan, and guests should be intimately aware of all that it implies. The seating plan is drawn up by the host, and the main host usually sits at the center of the table with the exit visible. Guests are usually seated in order of their respective positions, however valuable guests are always seated near the host.

Business in China DOs & DON’Ts

  • Show your appreciation with a little gift
    when meeting someone for the first time.
    Gifts wrapped in red wrapping paper are

  • When addressing someone,
    use their official title.
    If they don’t have a title,
    refer to them as ‘先生 (Xiānsheng).’

  • When discussing documents
    in a foreign language,
    it is also important
    to bring a Chinese copy.

  • Attend friendly gatherings
    whenever possible.
    This will help you build relationships
    with Chinese business partners.

  • When offered a cigarette,
    accept it out of courtesy.
    Cigarettes bridge relationships.
    If you are a non-smoker,
    hold the cigarette in your hand.

  • Green hats should never be worn
    or given as gifts.
    In China, ‘wearing a green hat’
    (戴绿帽子, Dài lǜ mào zǐ) is an expression,
    indicating a man whose wife cheats on him.

  • Start your business meeting with
    a casual conversation, not with business topics.
    Chinese businessmen like to learn a little
    about each other before getting to business issues.

  • Do not give watches/clocks as gifts in China.
    The expression ‘Giving watches’
    (送鐘, sòng zhōng) sounds like the Chinese
    expression for ‘attending a funeral’
    (送終, sòng zhōng).

  • Do not place business cards
    inside your pocket or bag immediately
    after receiving them.
    This action can be viewed as disrespectful.

  • Do not schedule meetings
    between 12:00 and 14:00.
    These are usually lunch hours.

Hanwha affiliates on the rise in China

There are 28 branch offices of Hanwha Group affiliates across China including Hanwha Corporation, Hanwha Techwin, Hanwha Chemical, Hanwha General Chemical, Hanwha Total Petrochemical, Hanwha Q CELLS, Hanwha Advanced Materials, and Hanwha Life.

China map
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