Cultural differences may create misunderstandings between citizens and tourists. Chinese people do not usually volunteer information, so the visitor is advised to ask questions. The Chinese are generally reserved in manner, courtesy rather than familiarity being preferred.

If you’re planning to visit “The People’s Republic of China”, or even any foreign country, be sure to know enough information about the country’s culture and beliefs – the do’s and don’ts, so that there’ll be no misunderstandings.

Do smile. People in China are generally very kind to visiting foreigners, so be nice too. Do make local friends. It is through friends that you understand the country better than wandering on the street. People in China love to make foreign friends, especially young people, since it is also a good opportunity for them to learn world outside, or at least learn English or other foreign language. However, don’t trust them too much, some of them, only some are scammers and don’t have any good intentions to visitors, they take advantage. Traditional Chinese “handshake” is important, which consists of interlocking the fingers, waving them up and down several times. This greeting is rarely used today, instead they use the Western-style handshake but physical contact other than a handshake is highly discouraged unless you know someone quite well.

When meeting someone for the first time for a China sourcing business meeting, you should engage in general conversation before turning to business. When receiving a business card, receive it using both hands and compliment the card itself, instead of immediately putting it away like in the West.

The Chinese will often avoid eye contact during conversations, especially when talking to the opposite sex or to strangers. Traditionally, it was considered impolite and aggressive to look directly into another’s eyes while talking, and as a sign of respect, the Chinese sometimes lower their eyes slightly when they meet others. Chinese communication is indirect and highly contextual. In conversation, the real meaning, especially if it’s negative, is often implied rather than stated.

Many common Western gestures are considered rude in China like beckoning someone with the index finger, whistling to get someone’s attention and finger snapping. So, avoid those things.

Try to enjoy your stay in China by avoiding such discouraged behavior and be friendly enough to acquaint with Chinese people. Make new discoveries and gain knowledge. Learn about their cultures and beliefs and be it!


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