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Cross-Cultural Tips in Business and Daily Life in Hong Kong

Posted: Jan 8 2016Last Updated: Mar 13 2017
Making Comparisons
Try and avoid using “home” as a benchmark for comparison, particularly if highlighting to someone local the things you cannot get in Hong Kong, or that are “better” at home.  It can become a habit and greatly detract from the enjoyment of what Hong Kong has to offer.   Moving to Hong Kong is an opportunity to learn about a new culture (indeed many cultures) and gain life-enriching experiences!
Greetings and Business Cards
Rise when introduced and remain standing until the greeting is over. Maintain eye contact as it is impolite not to.  
Business Cards:  Business cards are considered an extension of one's self, so the exchanging of cards when meeting someone for the first time has some formality associated with it.  
  • Cards are usually exchanged when you first meet a person, before the meeting starts, so be prepared to offer your business card when being introduced for the first time.  
  • Use both hands to hold your card, as if you would a formal gift, and bow slightly (a full bow is not necessary) when giving and receiving namecards.  
  • One should present your card to a Chinese person with the Chinese language side facing them, so they can read it easily.  
  • Always accept a business card with both hands, then peruse/read it before putting it away as a sign of respect.  Making a comment on their name, title, etc emphasizes that you've taken a moment to acknowledge them.    
  • Generally it is more polite to give your card to the person first as a sign of respect.  
  • You will most likely be introduced to a team in order of seniority, meeting the most senior person first.  Thus if the more junior people offer you their cards, it is acceptable to receive them before giving your own. 
  • Bring a lot of business cards to any meeting - you do not know how many people will attend, and you will generally give every person your card to acknowledge their presence. 
It is customary to bring a small gift when invited to someone’s home. Food or wine is always a welcome choice. Clocks are considered an unlucky gift and are best avoided as presents. Never wrap a gift in white as it is the traditional color of mourning. When given a present, it is impolite to open it in front of the giver unless he or she insists upon it.
Table Etiquette
Pointing the teapot spout in anyone’s direction indicates that he or she will argue with the person facing the handle. Thank the tea pourer by tapping the table a few times with two fingertips. When serving others food, if a pair of serving chopsticks are unavailable, it is customary to flip around one’s own chopsticks and use the end you have not eaten from.


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