Cultural reminders for people doing business in China

Hong Kong    

NZTC International hosted in September 2011 visitors from China as part of a cultural and learning exchange facilitated by Massey University. The visitors were training as translators and interpreters and were very appreciative of their experiences during the visit to NZTC. In return, they put together some cultural tips for people doing business in China, which we hope you might find useful!

  • Take off your shoes or put on a slip-on shoe cover to prevent dust from being taken into the rooms of your hosts.
  • Provide your host with a gift representing your culture that is not too expensive. Never use shoes or clocks as gifts because they are regarded as something that will bring bad luck to the receiver.
  • Do as the locals do; checking local customs beforehand is always a good idea.
  • Prior to your visit, always make contact with the second-in-command or liaison person.
  • Be constantly aware of status, as it is most important in the business world.
  • Expect to be welcomed at the airport. This may mean you will be taken for a meal as well.
  • Safe conversation topics might include travel, family, background business information, sports, movies, food, wine and so on.
  • Always dress conservatively.
  • Clarify the appropriate form of address for senior staff in advance.
  • When it is necessary to have alcohol with business people, say “gan bei” “bottoms up”.