Meals, Clothing Code & Gifts

Gift giving is an everyday part of Chinese business culture

Giving and receiving gifts helps to cement relationships

Take gifts with you when visiting and put some thought and effort into the gift selection process

Always wrap gifts before giving them.

Gifts are rarely opened in front of the giver

Most government officials and top-level management dress formally for meetings

Mid-to lower-level employees can wear more casual attire

When in doubt, always dress up in a suit to show respect

Giving gifts to your Chinese colleagues is a kind of art

The most important thing is to take cultural taboos seriously to avoid offending others

Don`t give clocks, watches, green hats, or chrysanthemums as gifts

Gifts should not be too expensive

If your business counterparts are government officials, make sure you don’t give them a reason to mistake your kindness as bribery

Dress code: conservative suits. Bright colours of any kind are considered inadequate

Punctuality is vital. Being late is a serious offence in the Chinese business culture

Many men now wear suits and ties and women tend to wear skirts and blouses of a modest cut

Successful people are expected to look successful

During a Chinese dinner, there is a certain order in which people must sit down

You can expect more senior business people to be seated first, then just wait for the Chinese people to show you your seat

Don`t start eating before others

Especially the elders and seniors as rank is very important in Chinese culture.

Don`t finish all your food- the Chinese people at the table will think you are still hungry and that they didn`t feed you well enough

If you invite someone to do an activity or have a meal, you are expected to pay for it

If you do invite and pay, try not to show your money in front of your guests

The meal is usually coming to an end when the fruit is served and the hot towels given out.

It is possible to leave after this stage of the proceedings — although the host is unlikely to initiate your departure

Meals can be accompanied by a great deal of smoking — even during the courses

The idea of no-smoking restaurants hasn’t really taken off in China

Alcohol will in invariably be consumed in quite large quantities during a formal banquet

tipping was unusual in China, although it is starting to become more common

When you receive a gift, just as when you receive a business card, accept it with two hands

Don`t open the gift immediately unless the person who gives it to you requests that you open it right away

Do not bring presents! The official policy in Chinese business etiquette forbids gifts. The gesture is considered bribery, which is illegal in the country

If you are invited to a business meal, wait to be seated, as there is a seating protocol based on hierarchy. Do not discuss business during the meal

During a meal, 20 to 30 courses can be served, so try not to eat too much at once! The trick is to try a sample of each dish.

Stick your chopsticks straight into your bowl. This action is reserved for funerals

Never tap your bowl with your chopsticks as this is associated with begging

If you are invited to a banquet in China, prepare yourself for a meal to remember

The banquet can consist of up to thirty dishes being served over a period of time, and it is therefore wise to pace yourself

Try to eat a little of each dish rather than sticking to the one you recognize

The seating arrangements at a banquet are very complex and linked to perceptions of hierarchy and status

If you are invited, you will be shown where to sit

Scorpions, locusts, snake skin, dog meat and blood may come your way – they are considered premium delicacies

If you are invited for drinks – you have to go, as building a personal relationships

It might happen that your Chinese counterpart will test your ability to handle alcohol

Giving tips is generally considered an insult in China, implying the recipient needs money

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