By; Max Grimaldo
Business Custom : Do’s
Top tip: Business in China relies heavily on personal relationships: make sure you have some!
- Dates: Check the Chinese calendar. If you are scheduling a meeting, avoid all national holidays, especially Chinese New Year, when the entire country effectively shuts down and it can be very difficult to organize meetings with key individuals. The May 1 and October 1 holidays also affect businesses: be forewarned.
- Language of the meeting: Make sure you know the language capabilities of your hosts before the meeting. It is more convenient and reliable for you to have your own interpretation if your hosts don't speak English or have little English capability.
- Dress Code: Government officials and top management dress formally for meetings, while business people at working levels may adopt a more casual style. If you’re not sure, go formal – it will convey respect and seriousness. In the summertime, there can be a suggestion for men to “go casual”. This means polo shirts or button-down short sleeve shirts, as opposed to suits and ties (or shorts – which are definitely not appropriate).
- Seating Arrangements: The host will take the lead, and you will likely have a name card or designated seat based on your role in the organization.
- Addressing others: Seniority is valued in China. It is important to address your counterparts by their title (Chairman, Director, etc.). Find out who the most senior person in the room is, and address them first.
- 100 Million people in China live on less than one U.S. dollar.
- Reincarnation is illegal without government permission
Business Custom : Dont's
- Never schedule a meeting on a Chinese New Year
- Never write thin
- Keep calm when dealing with government officials if tense situations arise. Raising your voice or getting angry will help with nothing but creating a losing-face situation for all.
- Do not overreact when asked personal questions regarding marital status, family, age, job or income, because this is done to seek common ground.
- Public display of affection is frowned upon.