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Bow and handshaking
It is common to shake hands no matter they are man or woman. The Chinese unlike the Japanese bow from shoulders not from waist.
The most common greeting is “Ni hao ma?” which means, “How are you doing? It is easy to answer “Hen Hao! Xie, Xie!” – “OK! Thanks!” You should greet the highest-ranking person first. If a group of Chinese is introduced, they usually stand in a row according to their status or age; the most important or the oldest person is the first in the row.
You should use only a surname and a public position of a Chinese in conversations, until he specially asks you to call him by name. Chinese addresses person on last name bases instead of first name bases as in the U.S.
Usually in a Chinese name the surname is put first and it consists of one, less often two syllables. The surname is followed by two-syllable (less often – one-syllable) name. For example:
“Li Xinhua” – “Li” is a surname, “Xianzhu” is a name.
“Ma Hun” – “Ma” is a surname, “Hun” is a name.
Never address a Chinese only by a surname, for example “Deng”. You should always use either a title: (“president”, etc.) or a position (“director”, etc.) or the words “Mr.”, “Ms.” etc.
Chinese very often address each other by an official or professional title: “Director Li”, “Mayor Wang”, and “Chairman Mao”.
The women in China do not take their husbands last name. “Missis Li” can be married to “Mister Wang”.
The cards should be printed at least in two languages: your native language and Chinese or English and Chinese. Make sure that a simplified Chinese language is used in the card instead of classic complicated writing of hieroglyphs adopted in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
If you are going to visit both PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF CHINA and Hong Kong and Taiwan – you should have two separate sets of cards.
You should exchange the cards at the beginning of a meeting when introducing to one another. Hand-written corrections and additions on a card (for example, cellular telephone number) are not considered as a sign of bad manner.
According to a classical Chinese tradition the business cards must be given and received with both hands with a slight bow or nod of a head. Nowadays it is not kept so strictly in China. But the people who keep this tradition are accepted with understanding and respect.
People of the same sex can walk holding hands. It is a gesture of deep friendship and trust.
The most widespread gifts are:
French cognac, whiskey, Pens, Lighters, Stationary, Books, Pictures in frames, Things for household, small electronic devices, Imported ginseng (a very popular gift in China).
Forbidden gifts are:
“Cheese” – Chinese do not eat it.
Clocks – especially do not give clocks to elderly people. The word clock sounds like “burial” in southern Chinese dialects.
“Green hats”– it is a hint that someone in the family had an affair.
Handing a gift, hold it with your both hands.
The Chinese don’t usually unwrap gifts as soon as they get them.
You should give presents to everybody or to nobody.
The Chinese like to arrange a place for negotiations in their office or during meals.
Usually the Chinese companies have a tradition to combine negotiations with the subsequent meal. To refuse it is not always proper, even if it is unexpected. The meal in China is a part of negotiating process; refusal is sometimes accepted as offense (especially, if dinner or supper has been ordered beforehand). However it is necessary to take into account, that the absence of advance notice about a scheduled joint meal from the Chinese side is also a violation of etiquette, including Chinese one.
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