When in Hong Kong: business etiquette made easy

Written by on 4th September 2012
Category: City guides

Cultural understanding can make or break a business trip. Here are some tips that could help you make a business deal in Hong Kong.

1.       Respect is a huge part of building business relationships in Hong Kong. Small gestures, such as the way you hand over your business card, can risk causing offence. Handle the card with two hands and when you receive it, ensure that you read it and acknowledge it before putting it away.

2.       The business culture in Hong Kong is quite hierarchical and decisions are taken with a great deal of care, so you may need to accept that the person at the top will be making the decisions and be patient. Avoid pushy sales tactics as these are likely to backfire.

3.       The concept of ’saving face’ is very important in Hong Kong. It refers to a person’s reputation; someone loses face when they feel embarrassed or undignified. Take extra care to avoid acting in a manner which could cause offence. This means never shifting the blame onto someone else and not being quite as direct as you may be in your workplace at home.

4.       Here in the UK it’s common to arrange a meeting for that very week, but in Hong Kong a business meeting should be arranged around two months beforehand. Try to avoid being late if at all possible and if you are delayed, apologise even if it wasn’t your fault. It’s rare to discuss home life in a business environment so avoid talking about anything too personal while you’re trying to build a rapport.

5.       The workplace is expected to be harmonious and conflicts are avoided. When doing business ensure you’re polite, calm and not too pushy.

6.       Take extra care over email etiquette. In particular, it’s important to address the recipient using all three of their names. Hong Kong residents use their surname, followed by one personal name (their father’s) then another personal name (their own). Use all these names until instructed to use one in particular.

Don’t forget to take a look at the wide variety of serviced apartments in Hong Kong which are represented by SilverDoor.

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