How to survive your business dinner in China?
Dining in the West with friends or colleagues is quite straightforward. But in China, everything happens a bit differently, especially in a business setting. If you operate within the business environment in China you will be, unavoidably, invited to this or that business dinner. We provide you with lots of tips to survive through the dinner and save your “face” in front of colleagues and partners.
- Do as Romans do. You’d like to wait for your host to seat you rather than pick a seat randomly yourself. (image from:CHINASIMPLIFIED.com)
- Avoid tapping your chopsticks on the table or bowl (rude) OR leaving them stuck vertically into a bowl of rice or noodles (a symbol of death). (image form: ZHIHU.com)
- I know the fish in the plate may whet your appetite, but try not to flip it over unless asked so, because flipping over a fish could result in bad luck in Chinese table tradition. (image from: GUIDEINCHINA.com)
- To show your favor of food does not necessarily mean you need to finish up your dishes. It’s better to leave some unfinished to show your host has prepared lots of food and is very hospitable. (image from: Olivia He, FLICKR.com)
- Drinking some alcohol 白酒 bái jiǔ (a type of Chinese spirit) OR 啤酒 pí jiǔ (beer) or beverages at a business dinner table is very often seen as a male competition and building up relationships. But never challenge your Chinese host into a drinking contest. (image from: CHINAMINUTES.com)
- When you hear 干杯 gān bēi, it reminds you to “cheers” with the others. Literally it means “clear the cup or finish up”, but it should be noted that you don’t have to finish all your drink. Just take a sip or drink whatever you feel enough to show your respect and joy. It would also be ok if you don’t want to drink it at all.
(image from: ATTRACTCHINA.com)
The above tips should provide you with some hints of being at a business dinner in China. Inquire with MoTai Mandarin on business Mandarin studies and to learn the Chinese etiquette in business settings.