Compared to many other countries, especially European and American, business in China is conducted in a much more formal way. Observing their etiquette and ceremonials gives a greater chance of establishing fruitful work relationships because Chinese business behaviour is heavily influenced by the Confucian philosophy and the concept of social role in the collectivist and hierarchical view of society.
We can summarise these concepts using two basic Chinese words:
  • Guanxi (关系) – the model of the dense web of interpersonal contacts, which go together with important values such as reciprocity, loyalty and trust.
  • Mianzi (面子) – the honour and reputation of each person, as well as the prestige they possess in the places they attend frequently: work, school, family.
Taking into account these concepts, you should take learning the ceremonials of a typical Chinese business meeting seriously, starting from things the exchange of presents, which should avoid objects connected with the idea of death in Chinese culture. The respect of punctuality and the roles of the hierarchies inside the room is equally important.
Remember! Gestures on managing business cards are genuinely significant, so always take these into account in your actions and words. Good luck with your business in China!
Giuseppe Adamo