Gift giving or receiving is not so widely acceptable in China. So while dealing with a Chinese business entity or professional, one should be judicious. If you wish to give a gift, it should not be something very expensive and ideally should carry a personal touch to it so that it comes across as a gesture of goodwill rather than a blatant bribe.

When gifting to a Chinese entity or person, it should be addressed to the head of the business team and shouldn’t be very expensive. When presenting the gift a few words about what it is and what significance it has should be mentioned. It is almost mandatory  that the company logo is present on the gift. Chinese people will refuse a gift, sometimes repeatedly. It is expected, however, that the giver will persist and the recipient’s acceptance will eventually follow.

Gifts should always be presented with two hands & should be should be given in pairs as this is considered as good luck. Never give a clock or any sharp object as a gift because the Chinese meaning for clock is death and when a knife or any sharp object is presented it means the cutting of relationships.

Avoid wrapping gifts in white, blue or black, which are colors associated with funerals, and avoid writing in red ink, which symbolizes the end of a relationship. Red, yellow and pink are seen as joyful colors, and are acceptable for gift wrap. If you plan on wrapping your gift, red wrapping paper is best. The Chinese have many superstitions surrounding color, and red is considered to be a relatively safe gift wrap color choice.

The Important Chinese festivals suitable for gifting are Chinese New Year/Lunar New Year (January/February); Spring Lantern Festival/ Yuen Siu Festival (January/February); Ching Ming Festival (March/April); Birthday of Tin Hau (April/May); Cheung Chau Bun Festival (April/May); Dragon Boat Festival (June); Mid-Autumn Festival (September/October), among others.

Appreciated Gifts are a good cognac, or other fine liqueur; a fine pen (not a pen with red ink-writing in red ink symbolizes severing ties); solar calculators; kitchen gadgets, stamps (stamp collecting is very popular here). Other acceptable gifts for a company include  handicrafts or an illustrated book. You can reciprocate if you are presented with a gift. A banquet is usually a welcome gift, since it’s likely you will be invited to one, you will have to follow Chinese business protocol and reciprocate. Food baskets are acceptable, but not at dinner parties or other occasions where appetizers and meals will be served. Candy and fruit baskets, however, are acceptable as thank-you gifts sent after these events.

Yixing pots make the best Chinese gifts. They can be simple and elegant, or exotic and elaborate. And everyone loves them because collecting teapots is a popular hobby in China these days. Also, eight is considered one of the luckiest numbers in Chinese culture. If you receive eight of any item, consider it a gesture of goodwill.



Nika · November 10, 2007 at 6:53 am

Good site! I’ll stay reading! Keep improving!

Keating · February 15, 2008 at 10:18 pm

Are there examples of prosecutions as a result of gifts given to companies?

Giftex Blog - Blog on Corporate Gifting & B2B Gifting » Blog Archive » Common Mistakes by Companies while Corporate Gifting · August 31, 2007 at 3:08 am

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