Business Etiquette in China — A Basic Guide for Successful Business in Guangzhou

Business etiquette in China
Business etiquette for sucessful business in Guangzhou, China

Lacking of knowledge about Chinese history and philosophy system usually leads to the ignorance of Chinese business etiquette, which is a common feature of most foreign businessmen.

In ancient China, there was an elaborated system of etiquette regarding social matters. Even though the Second World War intentionally damaged and softened the sophisticated social rules, and today, again the social etiquette which is the quintessential culture ofChinaflows in a flexible and modern way.

Sometimes the foreigners might feel contempt for a list of sophisticated ceremonies, and feel impatient for wasting time in polite discourse for something that can be predicted. Most of them would think that time is money, and they are reluctant to spend time on nothing. However, for the Chinese, it is far from being so.

Chinese regard etiquette as a very important mirror that can show a person’s politeness, aesthetic judgment, moralities, respect for others, etc. They tend to talk cautiously and slowly in a very polite manner. To help foreigners better understand Chinese etiquette, here lists some points for reference.


Put your hands down by your side and stand with your heels closing to each other. Do not stand slackly with your arms akimbo or even with one foot placed at a right angle. When talking to the seniors, do not stare at his face. Instead, keep your eyes on the button of the lapel of his coat and raise them up to his face for several times.

Answering Questions

It is usually regarded as impolite to simply say yes or no to the questions. And it is suggested to use the same words and modify the interrogative form of question into affirmative in answering the questions.

Asking about Private Information

Do not feel upset when you are asked about age inChinaas it is very common to ask about some private personal information here. For instance, you might encounter questions like: How old are you? Do you get married? How much do you earn per month? Where are you going? What are you going to do?

Those questions are very common inChina, and you do not need to answer each accurately. Sometimes these questions are merely viewed as a way to enhance personal relationship.

Handing Things

When handing things to others, it is polite to use both hands, and the same applies to receiving things from others.

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