Appropriate Business Behavior in China
Of these four countries, business culture in China is the most reserved, and is perhaps most unlike that of the United States. First and foremost, a contact should always be established before representatives of a business are sent to China. Trips to China are best if scheduled between the months of April to June, and September through October, when they will not conflict with any Chinese holidays (Morrison, Conaway, and Borden, 1994). On arrival, the business person should not touch people because touching makes the Chinese uncomfortable, especially if it is the first meeting. Inappropriate touching would include patting on the back orsqueezing the arm (Morrison et al., 1994). In China a light handshake is accepted, but the Chinese business associate should initiate the action. Bowing is common and is done with the palms together while facing each other(Gesteland, 1999). Holding eye contact is a sign of disrespect and should be done cautiously, especially in a social setting. When entering a room full of potential business partners, greeting the most senior person first is important, as is using appropriate titles. Sometimes the last name is said first in Chinese culture, and individuals will expect to be addressed formally until they say otherwise. Also, if greeted with applause, return the gesture (Kenna and Lacy, 1994a). Chinese often show little to no emotion. Generally joking is not accepted because they may not interpret humor in the same way as others. Exchanging business cards is something of great importance in China. Business cards should be printed in both English and Chinese and in plain lettering. Cards should be accepted using both hands, read, and placed somewhere safe. It is inappropriate to write on another’s card in front of the person who gave it (Morrison et al.,1994). Business dress in China is conservative and formal. Women should wear a high neckline, and should avoid high heels if they make them...
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