Business Etiquette In Asia For Beginners

Let’s start with Japan. The Japanese have a very rigid, formal business etiquette. Exchanging business cards or meishi is one of the most important parts of an initial business meeting.

When exchanging cards, you should bow slightly and offer your business card with both hands to your Japanese associates in order of seniority. Accept cards with both hands and say “Thank you” or hajimemashite. Never flick, write on, or leave behind a business card. That is extremely rude.

During meetings, always arrive early and wait to be seated. The order of seating is important and has its origins in samurai culture. Take lots of notes as it shows your interest.

When dining out with Japanese business associates, don’t be surprised by the frequency, because it is very common, as it allows them to judge your behavior both during and after business hours.

It is polite to say itadakimasu at the start of a meal, and gochisousama-deshita at the end. Don’t be afraid to slurp your noodles–being loud means you enjoy the food. Never pass food using chopsticks. This is a major taboo. Offer to pour your host’s drink for them as they will for you.

Business in China is based on guanxi–relationships that have been cultivated into a network of personal influence. Face is a major aspect of Chinese business culture, and crucial to establishing guanxi. It is a mix of public perception, social role, and self-esteem. Avoiding embarrassment and saving face are necessary for successful negotiations. These year, they do also relay their business activities heavy on ¬†internet such as Alibaba group, marketing on search engine, PPC, and youtube channels.

As a foreigner you can give face by showing awareness of Chinese culture.