What is the etiquette for meeting in China?

  • People greet each other formally in China, and it is mandatory to greet the elder population before anyone else.
  • Usually, they greet people from foreign countries with a handshake.
  •  It is not uncommon for the Chinese to keep their eyes to the ground while greeting someone.
  •  When addressing the people of this country, you should use a locally used title, which is bestowed to give respect along with their surnames. If you are more comfortable with using the first name to address people, it is better to take their opinion on it.
  •  On a general basis, these people have a great sense of humour. They would not mind if the joke’s on them while talking with a person who is well acquainted to them. Even foreigners should adapt to this tradition and not mind laughing at themselves once in a while.

What is the proper etiquette for gift giving in China?

  • The perfect present for a Chinese family will be a package of food, because they relish food items.
  • However, you should bear in mind not to gift them tools which are used to cut materials, for e.g. knives, blades, or scissors. Gifting such an article will be mistaken for putting an end to the relationship.
  • Also, you should remember not to offer products like straw sandals, hankies and clocks as they are required during funerals.
  •  Flowers would also be associated with death and funerals.
  •  If you choose to wrap the present in gift wrap, make sure that it is not back, blue or white in colour.
  • They consider eight as an extremely lucky digit whereas four is considered the opposite. Make sure you select the number of items accordingly.
  •  While giving the gift, hold it with both hands.
  •  If you are given a present by somebody, don’t hurry and open the wrap in front of them.

What is the proper etiquette for eating in China?

  • The people of China usually prefer to take their guests to restaurants instead of attending to them at home. This practice is observed more frequently with foreigners.
  •  However, you may be lucky enough to get an invitation to their houses. If you won’t be able to make it, be very polite in making them know of the anomaly without being blunt. They won’t get offended if this is followed.
  •  If you decide to go, be punctual and remove footwear outside before setting foot in the house.
  • It will be good if you bring some present for the hostess too.
  • Do not refrain from eating. This way, the hosts will know that you are enjoying yourselves and the food.

Table manners

  • Before eating a traditional Chinese meal, it will be good if you learn how to use chopsticks.
  •  Also, remember to stand till someone lets you know where you should be sitting. If you are the guest of honour, you will be given a seat which will face the door.
  •  Eat only after the host has started eating.
  • Out of politeness and also adventure, you must taste every item offered to you.
  • Refrain from eating the ultimate piece of the dish.
  • Be aware of what the people around you need.
  • Whenever you aren’t eating, i.e., while talking or drinking, keep the chopsticks down on the chopsticks rest.
  • The toast offering is initiated by the host himself.
  •  While eating non-vegetarian meals, place bones in a separate bowl offered outside your plate.
  •  Keep the rice dish near your mouth while you are relishing it.
  •  Though burping and belching during meals may be considered impolite in the west, in China, it merely tells you that the person is enjoying the food.
  • It is not compulsory to finish all the food offered.

Things you should know before going to China?

  • The crowd in China is myriad with differences in age, language and region.
  • Mianzi, or face is very important to them and thus they avoid confrontation during business and other meetings.
  • Sometimes, they do not inform about bad news because of fear of embarrassment. But they also treat it as a kind of motivational thing.
  • Giving face, or asking someone to help you, will actually help you make relations stronger.
  • If the head of the organisation follows some ethics, he is considered respectable by his or her workers.
  •  One more aspect that the Chinese find very crucial is social order. Individuals who place the welfare of the society before themselves gain the respect of people around them.
  • There is a certain power positioning in China, which will be apparent in the field of business through the way they greet, meet and seat everyone.
  •  Also, they equate your potential to do work with your ability of securing and maintaining relations. Thus, foreigners should keep in mind to build meaningful relationships with their Chinese counterparts. 

Also Read: Business etiquette to follow in China

Last update on February 2, 10:37 am by Nidhi S.