Business Dinners in China


In his book "Business Know-How China" (Redline Wirtschaft -Verlag, 2007), author Frank Sieren details how businessmen and women should conduct themselves when it comes to business dinners in China:

» Modern Chinese businesspersons will greet you with a handshake. Traditionally, however, this was not common practice. In any case, you can not go wrong when offering a handshake, but don't be surprised if some of your business partners are caught off guard by this.

» Business cards are always passed with both hands. The Chinese love cards that can be unfolded and which provide as many titles and features as possible.

» You will never be dressed inappropriately if you wear a suit. The best course of action is to wear one and then to adjust your attire as necessary to match the actual expectations and standards for where you are located -- for example, maybe it would be better to take off your tie in certain situations.

» For the conversation at the table, you should know that most Chinese are very open when it comes to discussing political and social problems, but at the same time they are very sensitive to condescension and superior attitudes.

» Generally, rather than each person at the table ordering a dish for him or herself, each dish is placed in the middle so that everyone at the table can eat something from each dish.

» In this case, you use the serving spoon to move food onto your plate and then continue eating, if possible, with chopsticks. Rice or noodles are provided at the end of the meal. These two dishes are a clear sign that the meal is approaching its end.

» If you are invited to a meal, you only need to eat and drink what tastes good to you. If you are not sure what something is or whether you will like it, you should still try it before you pass judgment and reject it.

» Should you invite your Chinese partners to a meal: Rent a private room restaurant, which is common and possible to get in almost every restaurant. Seek advice from the Chinese when it comes to the menu selection.