Business Etiquettes in China: Engaging in Successful Business Ventures

Harry Fozzard   |   August 26, 2021

China is one of the fastest growing countries in the world. It is home to many industrial companies and is an excellent place for foreign investors. It is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, with a population of over 1 billion to date. When engaging in any business, one should be reminded of some important attitudes when dealing with Chinese people. Business etiquettes in China are very important if you are engaging in business with these people, especially if the people you are dealing with are very traditional and respectable. For tips in dealing with business in China, one should start with appearance. Whether you are attending a business meeting or a job interview, you should always wear the appropriate attire. For men, conservative suits or business attire is the norm, especially in subtle, neutral colors or earth tones. For women, corporate attire such as suits and blazers are preferred. High-heeled shoes and short-sleeved blouses should be avoided. Showing too much skin can be distracting, and Chinese people consider it offensive, especially for women.

China business etiquettes are important when dealing with people whether it is a business meeting or a job interview. Your appearance and behavior have a great impact on how effective you are as an employee or business partner. In terms of behavior, being on time for a meeting or interview says a lot about a person. Being early or on time shows punctuality and discipline, and it is a plus for employers or hiring managers. When communicating with other people, some gestures should be avoided. Too much or too many hand movements can be distracting to the host or employer you are dealing with. Personal contact or touching is also very inappropriate, especially in public places. When speaking, avoid pointing your finger. Instead, use an open palm when making gestures while speaking. Bowing or nodding gestures are accepted, especially when you want the speaker or host to know that you are listening, and that you can comprehend what is being discussed.

When eating at a banquet or just a simple lunch or dinner meeting, do not eat or drink ahead of the host or client. If you are using chopsticks, avoid dropping them because for the Chinese, it is considered bad luck. Do not stick your chopsticks upright into your rice bowl. It connotes death. For women, drinking alcoholic beverages is not normally observed. As a guest, you should have a taste of all the meals that are offered to you. Eat in small servings because there may be several courses, and you don’t want to overfeed yourself. Avoid fully consuming all of your meals. It creates an impression that you are still hungry, and that you did not receive enough food. Remember to always be prepared. Bring all the necessary documents in multiple copies. Having an extra is much better than lacking in it. When handing out business or calling cards, it is more presentable if you have a card case with you, instead of just getting it from your pocket, wallet, or writing at the back of another card.