Gifts act as a symbolic way of showing appreciation, expressing your genuine sentiments and further strengthening business relationships. However, each country will have peculiar cultural backgrounds and traits, unspoken norms and guidelines for exchanging gifts as a part of business relationships.
While doing business with people there, you need to keep in mind these aspects or else the whole exercise of corporate gifting will come to naught and might even backfire as the host might get offended by any of your inadvertent gestures.
In today’s complex albeit closely connected thus shrinking world, dotted with global companies, what still perhaps counts is local beliefs, faiths, and norms. Populations in different countries follow different religious practices and adhere to various cultures, which is reflected in their day-to-day and even business practices. So it’s very important to be aware of specific socio-cultural nuances so as to cultivate a lasting business relationship.
Cultures with highly nuanced rituals especially for the process of gift giving are the Chinese and the Japanese, in particular. Those followed in the Middle East do have a gracious tradition of generous hospitality to visitors and travelers whereas Latin cultures, it has been observed, tend to treat all relationships as rather personal.
In European cultures, on the other hand, gifts are not given as frequently and aren’t mandatory. There is no detailed protocol to present a gift, except that of avoiding flowers or colors traditionally in use for funerals. Countries like Australia, Canada, and New Zealand fall into this generic category.
The point is, you should take extra efforts to learn about the person and his /her background before doing business with. This will let you choose more meaningful and useful gifts. Your careful choice will itself indirectly convey to the recipient that you have done your research well, sending out a positive signal. The fact that a gift has been specially chosen for a person, keeping in mind personal/social choices will be greatly appreciated by the recipient.