Taiwan – Business Card Guide
Ensure that you bring a plentiful supply of business cards; you will be expected to exchange them with practically everyone you encounter. Business cards are necessary, since they indicate your rank and importance–which are very important in Taiwanese business culture.
Your name, company, and title should be printed in English on one side, and in Mandarin Chinese on the reverse side. It will be an asset to have the Chinese side printed in gold ink, as this is the colour of prestige and prosperity in this culture.
If you arrive at a meeting or other gathering without business cards to distribute, you will be perceived as unprofessional and even rude.
Receiving another person’s business card is considered an honour; accepting a card with respect is a ritual unto itself.
When you receive another person’s card, make a show of carefully examining it for a few moments and then remarking upon it before putting it in your card case.
Never accept a business card and then immediately stuff it into your back pocket. This gesture will only be perceived as disrespectful.
Note that when you are given the business card of a Taiwanese person, the first name you see will probably be the person’s last name or family name, followed by the person’s first name or given name. In addition, the Taiwanese may also adopt Western names for the benefit of the English-speakers they will be meeting.
Be sure to present your card with both hands, with the card facing the recipient.
If you have presented your business card to someone and he or she has not offered one in return, it could be because the person is not interested in doing business with you.
Since the Taiwanese work ethic is exceptionally strong, be prepared to face 12 to 15 hour work days.
The Taiwanese usually begin a meeting by making some preliminary, good natured, “small talk.”
Expect Taiwanese businesspeople to be shrewd negotiators.
Bargaining is a way of life in Taiwanese business culture, so you will have to be prepared to make compromises.
In Taiwanese business culture, relationships are based on respect and trust. You will have to take time to establish good will.
Since the Taiwanese are generally suspicious of Westerners, you will have work to gain their trust–especially in the early stages of your visit.
Expect to make several trips before reaching a consensus.
Your negotiating team should include people with seniority and a comprehensive knowledge of your company.
Including an older person in your delegation will be essential to your success. Since this culture deeply respects age and status, sending a senior representative shows that your organization is serious about starting a business relationship.
Always treat the elderly with respect. Make a point of acknowledging them first in a group. Moreover, do not smoke or wear sunglasses in their presence.
When going through a doorway, allow older people to pass first and continue to insist, even if they initially refuse.
Modesty is very important in Taiwan. Do not enter an office until you are invited, and do not seat yourself until you are asked to do so.
When you are paid a compliment during a conversation, respond by insisting that you are not worthy of such praise. Regardless, do not acknowledge a compliment by saying “thank you” or by affirming it. Instead, remain as modest and self-effacing as possible. This practice should not stop you from complimenting another person, however, since these gestures are always appreciated.
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