Chinese Culture

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1. Executive Summary

Business today is becoming more universal and it is common to travel around the world for business dealings. In order to clinch a business deal with parties of other countries, it is essential to do some research about the country first. This will provide critical information about their business tradition, etiquette issues and other factors that will allow easier acceptance of Singaporean business persons.

China being the largest populated country of 1.3 billion, with an area of 9,600,000 square kilometers, has a long history, unique culture and a wide variety of distinctive customs and traditions. She has been attracting foreigners to invest as there are plentiful resources and labour market, which are crucial in business dealings. Besides the factors that are mentioned above, other factors play essential roles as well.

Guanxi and Mianzi are the foremost factors that Chinese businessmen take into account. Other factors include preparation for Chinese business meetings, knowledge of the Chinese Lijie, such as non-verbal communication and social relationships. Also, the Chinese banquet consisting table etiquette together with drinking and toasting. There will also be gift-giving, such as what should be considered to give and what should be avoided. Last but not least, different ways to negotiate with the Chinese for the best solution should be taken into consideration.

In conclusion, having the knowledge of the Chinese etiquette will better help one to succeed in clinching more business dealings. At the same time, it also helps one to understand the culture and customs of Chinese. Therefore, this will not only do one good for business purposes, but also encourages common understanding amongst countries.

The People's Republic of China, has a largest population of 1.3 billion and a GDP of US$2393 billion. Thus, it has been eyed by many business executives due to its big market share and a large pool of labour which provides many business opportunities. In order to carry out business transactions efficiently with the Chinese, it is important for us to know what the prohibitions, customs and taboos are in China. By understanding these, we will be more prepared to conduct business with the Chinese.

2.1 Meeting the Chinese
To begin with, the Chinese are very particular about first impressions. They prefer to be introduced formally to people as they are reluctant to strike up conversations with people they are unfamiliar with. A proper handshake will be most appropriate upon introduction. If one is being introduced to a group, remember to shake everyone’s hands. Also, stand up throughout, when being introduced or when presenting self. Begin introductions with his/her name, followed by the company’s name and specify the country that he/she is from.

2.2 Business Cards
It is polite to use two hands to hold both corners when presenting business card and to position it so that it is legible to the recipient. Try to have one side of the card being translated and print the Chinese letters using gold ink as this is an auspicious colour. It will be respectful to spend a few seconds reading the card upon receiving it and helps in remembering one’s name. It is demeaning to put it directly into your pocket without glancing. If it is a sit-down meeting, place the card on the table so that one can look at it.

Most Chinese like to engage in conversations concerning topics which they have knowledge on, such as weather, geography, Chinese cuisine, Chinese scenery and landmarks. Topics related to politics should be avoided. Dismiss personal questions with a little humour if uncomfortable. The Chinese would often compliment the country of origin. However, accepting praise outright is not considered as good etiquette for them. Instead, one is expected to deflect compliments and pretend it is unworthy of receiving them.

2.4 Greetings
Surnames come first...
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