There are certain cultural expectations for doing business in Hong Kong. As foreign businessperson, your success will come from how well you can adapt to your new environment. Since there are many thriving industries in the Hong Kong business market, you must understand the cultural norms of doing business there. Many international business professionals fail due to not understanding the local culture. Read ahead to learn about cultural values for doing business in Hong Kong.
How you meet and greet a potential business partner can dictate how your meeting goes. Hong Kong business culture places great emphasis on respect for others. You can very easily offend someone by not following certain guidelines. Punctuality is paramount. When going to a meeting, always make sure to be early or on time. According to experts in opening companies in Hong Kong, greet your potential business partner with a handshake, followed by a bow. Afterwards, offer your business card with both hands. Hong Kong culture values deliberate action. Small gestures have major meaning. This can include having the card face up and not writing on others’ cards. Brush up on etiquette to understand the hidden meanings of your actions.
Hong Kong culture has deeply rooted hierarchical values. Confucian values are still a strong part of the cultural landscape. This means that there is a great emphasis on deference to one’s elders and superiors. Even if your meeting goes well, the person you speak with may defer to their superiors. You should also adjust your interactions around the position of the person you speak with. It may take some time to get used to this kind of relationship science. Your words will hold more weight if your position is high. You can elevate your image and position through awareness of manners and etiquette. Hierarchy is keenly felt in cultural values, so plan accordingly.
Face is a difficult cultural concept for foreign business professionals to grasp. This is akin to a hidden social meter based on factors like reputation, influence, dignity, or honor. Conducting business in Hong Kong is a delicate game of managing your own Face while being aware of your prospective partner’s Face. You should carefully build Face by watching your words and actions. Save face by appearing neutral and adhering to the emotional culture. Strong outbursts of emotions are looked down upon in this culture. You should also avoid tearing down someone’s Face as a business tactic. Though a display of dominance may be a effective tactic in the western world, it is likely to backfire in Hong Kong. You must be carefully attuned to this specific cultural value, lest you risk ruining your business.
Understanding cultural values behind body language will help you decipher what people are really saying. Conducting business in Hong Kong can be confusing due to veiled statements. You should observe your potential partner’s body language. Observe whether your potential partner’s movements are meant to build your Face or denigrate you. Body language in business can have hidden meanings. Casually handing things can be viewed as disrespectful. Touching others is seen as inappropriate, especially in professional settings. Figure out these cultural values by observing how people say things.
Giving gifts is essential to developing strong business relationships. In Hong Kong culture, you are expected to give gifts on certain occasions. You need to bring a gift when invited to a personal meeting in someone’s home. Also be aware that there are certain gift giving rules. Your gift will most likely be rejected one or two times. Accepting a gift on the first offer is considered rude, so if offered a gift politely refuse once. However, refusing a gift 3 times and turning down a gift entirely is the height of disrespect. Avoid giving knives, scissors, clock, handkerchiefs, and sandals. Avoid white, blue, and black wrapping paper. Your gifts should be wrapped in red or gold. Because Hong Kong culture values auspicious signs, avoid social gaffes by following gift giving rules.
Being aware of cultural values is critical when conducting business abroad. You will improve your Hong Kong business savvy by focusing on proper meetings, hierarchical values, Face, body language, hierarchical values, and gift giving. Keep these values in mind and you will more easily navigate the world of business in Hong Kong.