Business Practices — Top 10 Critical DON’Ts to Sustain Prosperous Business in Guangzhou

Business practices in China
Business practices to help achieve long term business goal in China

Cross cultural understanding is without doubt a vital and challenging aspect for any international business to expand its scale. Looking forward, doing business in Guangzhou is particularly important and its popularity continues to soar as its potential continues to grow. Following the last article about Top 10 Critical DOs to Sustain Prosperous Business in Guangzhou, here we would set our sights on how to avoid the top 10 critical mistakes while doing Guangzhou business.

1. Don’t use large body gestures when talking to the Chinese since they seldom speak using body gestures. Do not use large hand movements as it might be distracting to your host. Do not point when speak.

2. Don’t place your chopsticks straight up in the rich bowl as it resembles joss sticks burnt at a funeral, which is held as inauspicious at all. It is better to lay the chopsticks horizontally across the rim of the bowl or on the table.

3. Don’t call Chinese by their first names without giving permission to. Chinese attach much importance to seniority, and it is better to address a person by his or her designation when dealing with state owned enterprises. For instance, if you are dealing with the Chairman named Chen Liang from a government body, it is better to address him as Chairman Chen.

4. Avoid the number 4 as it has the same pronunciation with the word death in the Chinese language. It is considered as inauspicious, and the 4th floor is usually replaced with 3A. The Chinese are superstitious about numbers. Numbers 3 and 8 are very popular in China as 3 in Chinese language rhymes with growth, while 8 rhymes with prosperity, and that’s why most people would love to choose 3 or 8 in their phone numbers.

5. Don’t get upset when Chinese ask you about your age, marriage or income as it is very common in Chinese culture.

6. Don’t hand out your business card, brochures or anything else to others with one hand as it is considered as impolite. Stretching out with both hands with the card, and also receive anything with both hands.

7. Don’t stare at others directly when you are talking to them or in a business meeting as it would make others feel uncomfortable and disrespectful. Instead, smile and nod to show that you are listening to them attentively. Sometimes steady eye contact is regarded as offensive or challenge. People used to keep steady eye contact when they are upset.

8. Don’t regard their saying “yes” as affirmative. Most Chinese people used to say yes to show that they are attentive and keep abreast of what you said. In this case, the word “yes” doesn’t necessarily mean that they agree with what you said.

9. Don’t make any statement that Taiwan, HongKong or Macau is not a part of China or support the independence of them. Many Chinese are so patriotic that your words could ruin the relationship.

10. Don’t praise Japanese in China as the Japanese Invasion and the Rape of Nanjing in history would raise the great hatred of some Chinese.

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