5 Must Know Etiquette When Doing Business In Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of the best places to search for business opportunities because of its thriving economy and a culture that practically emphasizes making connections. However, there are also a lot of things about doing business in the Fragrant Harbor that you have to keep in mind, especially with regards to the etiquette that is expected of you. Here are 5 etiquette that you need to know when doing business in Hong Kong.
Being on time when meeting anyone is considered important wherever you are in the world, but it is especially so in Hong Kong. Punctuality is extremely important to the Chinese and it is considered disrespectful of you arrive late. The reason why you were late doesn’t matter.
In Hong Kong, you greet people by shaking their right hand and bowing ever so slightly. You should also make an effort to greet the most senior of the group first. This last bit cannot be overemphasized.
Learn To Speak Chinese
Generally speaking, you’ll find two main languages spoken in Hong Kong; Cantonese and Mandarin. Being fluent in both is a huge plus, but if you have to settle for one, choose Cantonese. Mandarin might be spoken by more people in China, but the local dialect spoken by most people in Hong Kong is Cantonese. Even knowing just a few words of greetings or gratitude is enough. Not knowing any Chinese puts you in a very disadvantageous situation.
Avoid Acting Familiar
In the west or even in other Asian countries, it’s normal to have physical contact with people in the form of putting their arms around each other in a gesture of camaraderie or putting one’s palm on the other’s back to lead them somewhere. In Hong Kong, these or any other form of physical contact is rarely done. The handshake and the bow are good enough.
Saying “President” or “Director” before someone’s name might be appreciated in other places, but it is practically mandatory in Hong Kong. A person’s title represents their achievement and is expected to be treated as such. Using only “Mr.” or “Sir” is going to put you in the hot seat faster than you can blink.