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Table manner for doing business in China
Latest Updated by 2003-10-17 10:05:04

To be aware of some table manners is essential if you want to establish a regular business association---any business relationship here can only be deemed stable and firm, once you have shared a bottle or two of Chinese liquor, a couple of shark's fins and sung a song with you local partner and supplier.

Here are some guidelines to business banquet etiquette in China. You may find it quite useful if you follow them.

You pay, at least once to show your sincerity. Make sure that you are "inviting" your partner. In Chinese "to invite" (qing) means you will foot the bill, instead of only "join me for dinner". I f your local partner insist to pay, then you should only give in after a few gentle refusals. If this is not solved by the time the bill arrives, feel free to have a gentle tug of war with your partner's arm as he reaches for his wallet.

If you are hosting, your seat should face the door, with the most important clients on either side of you. If you are the guest, your partner will try to seat you at the place of honour, where the host would sit. You should refuse without hesitation and sit down somewhere nearby.

As host, order at least one or two decent dishes and a couple of cold dishes for warming up the stomach. The toasts will start soon. Ask what kind of alcohol your client prefers, and try to steer him towards "Bai Jiu", the local white liquor. Grapes wine is quite acceptable but not nearly as much fun.

When you drink, always raise your glass to at least one person at the table. Accompany toast with words along lines of " to our cooperation", or at least a " thank you". " Gan bei!" means bottom up. If you are feeling a little bit high, "Sui yi!" means " Just a sip".

Your partner will feel kind of intimacy if you use, at least try to use chopsticks.

Thank everyone when the dinner is finished is another important thing you should not forget.


Editor: Wings

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