Chinese Business Card & Travel Etiquette: Mainland ChinaDeeply rooted in Chinese society is the need to belong and conform to a unit, whether the family, a political party or an organization. The family is the focus of life for most Chinese. Age and rank are highly respected. The Chinese are practical in business and realize they need Western investment, but dislike dependency on foreigners. It is very difficult to break through the "them vs. us" philosophy (foreign partner vs. Chinese), but a dual-sided Chinese business card with Simplified Chinese on one side and English on the other will go a long way to help show your respect toward their culture.
Chinese Business Card Translation Etiquette:* Chinese business cards are exchanged upon meeting.
* 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.
* Chinese translated business cards are always exchanged and should be done so with two hands (as a sign of respect).
* Chinese 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.
* Take ample stocks of Simplified Chinese business cards as almost everyone you meet will want to exchange one with you.
* 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 should be bilingual even if the people you are meeting read and write English.
* Your business cards for China 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 Chinese business cards.
* When presenting your Chinese business card, make sure that you hold it Chinese side up, facing your contact so that he/she can read it.
* Exchange Chinese 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 Chinese 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 Simplified Chinese 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.).
Your Initial Meeting in China:* Shake hands upon meeting. Chinese may nod or bow instead of shaking hands, although shaking hands has become increasingly more common.
* When introduced to a Chinese group, 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.
Chinese Names & Titles:* Use family names and appropriate titles until specifically invited by your Chinese host or colleagues to use their given names.
* Address the Chinese by Mr., Mrs., Miss plus family name. Note: married women always retain their maiden name.
* Chinese are often addressed by their government or professional titles. For example, address Li Pang using his title: Mayor Li or Director Li.
* 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.
Reading Chinese Body Language:* 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.
To get an idea of what some Chinese business cards look like when fully translated and localized into Chinese, please visit our Chinese 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 & exchange video covers the proper way to present, receive, and observe Asian business cards.
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