Top Things to
Know About Chinese Communications and
The traditional Chinese "handshake" consists
of interlocking the fingers of the hands and
waving them up and down several times. This
is rarely used today (except during
festivals, weddings and birthdays of the
elderly), and the Western-style handshake is
used by most everyone.
When greeting, a
slight bow often accompanies the handshake,
but do not bow from the waist in the style
of the Japanese. While a firm grip is
expected in the West, the Chinese employ a
gentler handshake. Except for shaking hands,
do not touch anyone unless you know them
very well. Never embrace or slap a Chinese
associate on the back.
Business cards are routinely exchanged at
the first meeting. Be sure that one side of
your card has been translated into Chinese.
Include your company's name, your job title
and any special qualifications you have.
When receiving a card from a Chinese
businessman, take it with both hands and
compliment something about it; be sure to
keep it on the table in front of you for the
Chinese names are "reversed" from Western
names. The surname is said first and then
the given name. For example, Bruce Lee's
name in Cantonese is Lee Siu Lung. Lee is
his surname and spoken first, and the given
name (Little Dragon) is spoken second.
Professional, social, and family titles
always follow the name as well.
someone by only his last name, and unless
specifically asked, do not call someone by
his first name; always address your Chinese
associates by their surname followed by
their title. Also, never address anyone as
The Chinese will often avoid eye contact
during conversations, especially when
talking to the opposite sex or to strangers.
Traditionally, it was considered impolite
and aggressive to look directly into
another's eyes while talking, and as a sign
of respect, the Chinese sometimes lower
their eyes slightly when they meet others.
The Chinese typically have a "blank" facial
expression during introductions. This is not
a sign of unhappiness, dissatisfaction, or
unfriendliness, but reflects the belief that
there is virtue in concealing emotions.
Chinese communication is ambiguous, indirect
and highly contextual. In conversation, the
real meaning, especially if it's negative,
is often implied rather than stated. What is
not said is often more important that what
When meeting someone for the first time for
a business meeting, you should engage in
general conversation before turning to
business. Casual conversation topics in
China differ from that of English speakers.
It is not impolite to ask about a person's
job, annual salary, marital/dating status or
age. Although your answers need not be
detailed, trying to avoid answering will
only invite suspicion and misunderstanding.
The specifics of your answers are not as
important as your willingness to respond. In
contrast, questions about family tend to be
deflected or avoided.
Color symbolism is very important in China.
Red is lucky and used in celebrations, but
never use red ink to write cards or letters,
as it symbolizes the end of a relationship.
Yellow is associated with prosperity, and
gold is especially felicitous. In contrast
with Western cultures, white signifies
Many common Western gestures are considered
rude in China.
Pointing with the index finger - use a
face-up, open hand instead
Beckoning someone with the index finger -
use the hand with fingers motioning downward
as in waving instead
Showing the soles of shoes
Whistling to get someone's attention
WANT TO READ MORE CULTURAL RULES...Click
All China Sourcing, LTD. is prepared to
handle all aspects of outsourcing your
manufacturing project to China.
CLICK HERE TO CONTACT US TODAY!