Business Card & Travel Etiquette Guide: Exchanging Business Cards in Asia

icon-clock-o MON - FRI: 8AM - 6PM (PST)      icon-phone Toll-Free: 1-877-598-9016      icon-arrow-circle-right  Click here for a Free Quote  icon-arrow-circle-left

Business Card & Travel Etiquette Guide: Exchanging Business Cards in Asia

There are many dos and don’ts for exchanging business cards in Asia. This article discusses the proper way to conduct a business card exchange in Asia. You never want to show disrespect in Asia by treating an Asian business cards as if it’s just a piece of paper to throw away. In this article you will learn the proper way to present, receive, and observe Asian business cards with the utmost respect.

Need to order dual-sided bilingual translated business cards for Asia? Simply fill out our free quote form to get started.

Asian Business Card Translation Etiquette:
  • Asian business cards are exchanged upon meeting.
  • When in China, dual-sided Chinese business cards should be printed in English on one side and Chinese on the other. Make sure the Chinese side uses “Simplified” characters for mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. “Traditional” characters are used in Taiwan and exclusive areas of Hong Kong
  • The Japanese business cards are called “Meishi” (or Japanese business cards) which have a much greater significance in Japan than in Western culture.
  • In a society where an individual is less important than the group to which he/she belongs, meishi provides access to its bearer’s identity.
  • In Korea, businesspersons should always have their Korean bilingual business cards at the ready and should treat the exchange of Korean translated business cards with respect.
  • Asian translated business cards are always exchanged and should be done so with two hands (as a sign of respect).
  • Asian business cards represent the person to whom you are being introduced, so it is polite to study the card for a while and then put it on the table next to you or in a business card case.
  • To appear at a meeting without a translated Asian business card does almost irreparable damage to the business relationship; it is tantamount to refusing to shake hands at a Western business meeting.
  • Before presenting your Asian business card, you should make sure that it is clean and neat; no dog-eared corners or smudges allowed.
  • Your business cards for China, Japan or Korea should be bilingual even if the people you are meeting read and write English.
  • Your business cards for Asia should include your title. If your company is the oldest or largest in your country, that fact could be on your card as well, etc.
  • It is best to stand up when exchanging Asian business cards.
  • When presenting your Asian business cards, make sure that you hold it with the translated side up, facing your contact so that he/she can read it.
  • Exchange Asian business cards one-by-one, individual-to-individual, and use both hands where practical.
  • NEVER distribute (or toss) your Asian business card in a manner similar to dealing playing cards.
  • NEVER place a stack of your Asian business cards on the table and offer others to take a card from the stack.
  • If you are in a formal situation, it is proper to place the translated Asian business card face up on the table in front of you and refer to it when necessary.
  • DO NOT shove the card into your back trouser pocket.
  • DO NOT write comments on another person’s business card, in their presence. You may write on your own name card to add information (e.g., email, home phone number, etc.).
  • Take ample stocks of Asian business cards as almost everyone you meet will want to exchange one with you.
  • Before presenting your Asian business card, you should make sure that it is clean and neat; no dog-eared corners or smudges allowed.
  • To be truly polite, the card should be removed from a leather or professional business card case.
  • Many clients in Asia hand out their business cards at the drop of a hat. Don’t be left out! Give your card to anyone that you want to hear from again. You’ll likely go through a lot more cards during your trip to Asia than you would back home.
The Initial Meeting in Asia:
  • Shake hands upon meeting. Clients in Asia may nod or bow instead of shaking hands, although shaking hands has become increasingly more common.
  • When introduced to a group in Asia, they may greet you with applause. Applaud back and smile.
  • Senior persons begin greetings. Greet the oldest, most senior person before others. During group introductions, line up according to seniority with the senior person at the head of the line.
Asian Names & Titles:
  • Use family names and appropriate titles until specifically invited by your Asian host or colleagues to use their given names.
  • Address clients in Asia by Mr., Mrs., Miss plus family name. Note: married women always retain their maiden name.
  • Chinese, Japanese and Koreans are often addressed by their government or professional titles. For example, address Li Pang using his title: Mayor Li or Director Li.
  • In China, Names may have two parts; for example: Wang Chien. Traditional Chinese family names are placed first with the given name (which has one or two syllables) coming last (family name: Wang; given: Chien).
  • Chinese generally introduce their guests using their full titles and company names. You should do the same. Example: Doctor John Smith, CEO of American Data Corporation.
  • In Japan, Japanese people are known by their surname (family name) and not their first name. For a man, this is then followed by “San” which is used in the sense of “Mister”.
Body Language in Asia:
  • The Chinese dislike being touched by strangers. Do not touch, hug, lock arms, back slap or make any body contact.
  • Clicking fingers or whistling is considered very rude.
  • Never put your feet on a desk or a chair. Never gesture or pass an object with your feet.
  • Blowing one’s nose in a handkerchief and returning it to one’s pocket is considered vulgar by the Chinese.
  • To beckon a Chinese person, face the palm of your hand downward and move your fingers in a scratching motion. Never use your index finger to beckon anyone.
  • Sucking air in quickly and loudly through lips and teeth expresses distress or surprise at a proposed request. Attempt to change your request, allowing the Chinese to save face.
  • Chinese point with an open hand. Never point with your index finger.
Social Settings in Asia:
  • In Asia, it is considered to be polite to wait for the eldest person at the table to begin eating before everyone else starts.
  • Likewise, one does not excuse him or her self from the table before the eldest person finishes.
  • It is a bad breach of etiquette to pour your own drink.
Chinese Business Card Samples:

To get an idea of what Chinese business cards look like when fully translated and localized into Chinese, please visit our Chinese business card translation samples page.

Japanese Business Card Samples:

To get an idea of what Chinese business cards look like when fully translated and localized into Chinese, please visit our Japanese business card translation samples page.

Korean Business Card Samples:

To get an idea of what Chinese business cards look like when fully translated and localized into Chinese, please visit our Korean business card translation samples page.

Video on the Etiquette of Exchanging Business Cards in Asia:

There are many dos and don’ts for exchanging business cards in Asia. In this video you will learn the proper ways to conduct a business card exchange in Asia. This Etiquette & Business card Exchange Video for Asia covers the proper way to present, receive, and observe Asian business cards.

Our Free Quote Form for Translated Business cards for Asia:

You can use our Free Business Card Translation Quote Request Form for exact costs/options for ordering translated business cards in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Arabic, and more. Our visit our How To Order page for a complete summary of how the process works for ordering custom translated business cards for your business.

Translation Quality You Can Trust

We are experts in business card translation. We have been in business since 1999, and we specialize in Asian business cards suitable for exchange in China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, and so on. Our mission is to provide you with the best translation quality on-time, every time. We never use translation software and only have professional native-language-speaking translators on staff. Many companies overlook the impact that a bilingual business card can have on your business. We don’t. We take special pride in our work and are committed to ensuring that your business card translation project is given as much care and thought as it deserves.

With translators fluent in many languages, or staff can assist you with bilingual business cards in over 40 different languages. Being experts in the field, we know the typesetting requirements that are needed for many complex Asian typesetting languages such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, and others. However, we can also assist you in non-Asian bilingual business cards for languages such as Russian, Czech, French (Euro or Canadian,) German, Greek, Hungarian, Spanish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Ukrainian, Turkish, Polish, Slovak, Croatian, and many more.

Business card translation, typesetting, printing in Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai and much more.

icon-clock-o MON - FRI: 8AM - 6PM (PST)      icon-phone Toll-Free: 1-877-598-9016      icon-arrow-circle-right  Click here for a Free Quote  icon-arrow-circle-left