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Customs in China

Meeting Etiquette

·Greetings are formal and the oldest person is always greeted first.

·Handshakes are the most common form of greeting with foreigners.

·Many Chinese will look towards the ground when greeting someone.

·Address the person by an honorific title and their surname. If they want to move to a first-name basis, they will advise you which name to use.

·The Chinese have a terrific sense of humour. They can laugh at themselves most readily if they have a comfortable relationship with the other person. Be ready to laugh at yourself given the proper circumstances.

Dining Etiquette

·The Chinese prefer to entertain in public places rather than in their homes, especially when entertaining foreigners.

·If you are invited to their house, consider it a great honour. If you must turn down such an honour, it is considered polite to explain the conflict in your schedule so that your actions are not taken as a slight.

·Arrive on time.

·Remove your shoes before entering the house.

·Bring a small gift to the hostess.

·Eat well to demonstrate that you are enjoying the food!

Table Manners

·Learn to use chopsticks.

·Wait to be told where to sit. The guest of honour will be given a seat facing the door.

·The host begins eating first.

·You should try everything that is offered to you.

·Never eat the last piece from the serving tray.

·Be observant to other peoples' needs.

·Chopsticks should be returned to the chopstick rest after every few bites and when you drink or stop to speak.

·The host offers the first toast.

·Do not put bones in your bowl. Place them on the table or in a special bowl for that purpose.

·Hold the rice bowl close to your mouth while eating.

·Do not be offended if a Chinese person makes slurping or belching sounds; it merely indicates that they are enjoying their food.

·There are no strict rules about finishing all the food in your bowl.

Tipping in China

Tipping is not widely expected or required in Mainland China. However, at superior hotels and restaurants catering to western tourists, porters, room service and wait staff may have become used to receiving small tips. You can tip in cash, some small gifts brought from your country would also be appreciated, such as music CDs, books, perfumes, candies, etc.  While in Hong Kong and Macau, tipping is very common and important, just like many parts of the world.

Business Hours

Most of China's business world slows down considerably during the spring festival in late January and early February. Business visitors would be wise to avoid this two to three week holiday period. 

In most cities in China, businesses and government offices are usually open Monday through Friday and every other Saturday from 8 am to noon and from 1:00 to 2:00 pm to 5:00 or 6:00 pm. China has a five and a half day workweek consisting of 44 hours. Banks are open Monday to Saturday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Shops are open every day.

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