Top 10 Tips for Conducting Business in China

Tony Oliva's avatar

By Tony Oliva
on May 13, 2011

China and the Chinese language often play a vital role in modern business transactions. While China has the third largest economy in the world (following the U.S. and Japan), Chinese is spoken by one-fifth of the world's population, making it the most popularly spoken language in the world.

For those looking to significantly grow their businesses in Chinese markets, understanding the ins and outs of Chinese business etiquette is essential. Knowing proper Chinese business etiquette will help you gain new partners and clients abroad, and in turn will boost the overall success of your business.

  1. Address colleagues by title and last name
  2. Exchange business cards at the beginning of the meeting
  3. Read business cards you receive before putting them away
  4. Shake hands lightly and only for a short amount of time
  5. Start with small talk
  6. Avoid direct eye contact
  7. Do not offer gifts, as these are considered forms of bribery
  8. Do not physically touch your Chinese colleagues
  9. When possible, offer "I'll look into that," rather than "No"
  10. China: dress in conservative, dark and simple attire
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