- Chinese usually greet one another with a slight bow or nod of the head. In business and with foreigners, a handshake is common upon greeting and departure.
- Arriving early indicates respect for the host. Although the Chinese are not always on time, punctuality is viewed as a positive asset in others.
- Chinese pride themselves on holding their feelings inside, therefore, they may not smile at a first greeting or as often as people do in some other Asian countries.
- Business cards, called name cards (ming pianr) by the Chinese, are presented when everyone first meets. They should be given and received with both hands.
- It is advisable to hire a translator.
- Chinese have a high regard for rank and seniority. The Chinese will be impressed by and are usually more attentive to senior representatives of foreign firms. Ranking your company can help to impress the Chinese, especially if you are the biggest or the oldest.
- In China, the family name precedes the given name, which is occasionally followed by the second name or the western equivalent of a first name. For example, Huang Hua would be called Mr. Huang, and Hua would be his given name. However, some Chinese will switch the order of their names when they are dealing with foreigners. Further, many Chinese adopt given names, many of which are Western names.
- It is important to establish a smooth business relationship and friendship. Trust and cooperation are key. Meetings often begin with small talk over tea, and appropriate topics include the weather and your recent travels. Then, will be built on to more serious topics. It is important to be patient. The Chinese tend to maintain a level of formality in the early stages of a relationship. This fosters respect for each side and ensures that contacts will proceed harmoniously. To become informal too quickly would upset the balance the Chinese require to develop a meaningful business and personal relationship. Avoid discussing political and human rights issues. These topics can be very sensitive and may place your Chinese counterpart in an awkward position because Chinese people are not allowed to publicly criticize the government.
Gift are not required or expected at initial meetings. You may present a small sample of your company's product or an item with a corporate logo. However, anything more elaborate or expensive will be inappropriate.