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The art of giving business cards in China

In order to better communicate with your Chinese supplier or Chinese vendor, you should know how to give and receive business cards in China.

See below the 10 rules about giving and receiving business cards in China.

With these steps in mind, you will leave a good first impression and your Chinese business partners will be impressed with your manners and knowledge of a somewhat confusing (for Westerners) cultural practice.

The 6 rules to follow when you give business cards:

  1. Make sure you have enough: being out of stock is bad: Bad for your reputation, bad for your credibility, bad for your “face”.
  2. Protect your cards: They should be spotless, so it is better to store them in a box.
  3. Write one side in English and the other in Chinese.
  4. personally give your cards to anyone surrounding you, even if there are a lot of people. Do not leave a box for people to pick it up!
  5. Start with the person the highest in the hierarchy; If you are not sure: start with the oldest.
  6. Give your business card with your two hands, with your name facing the person (so he or she can read) and bow a little your head.

The 4 rules when receiving a business card:

  1. Take the card someone gives you with your two hands !
  2. Take the time to read it (and to understand the name, title and duty of the person)
  3. File it properly inside a noble place or in a box… Not in you back pants pocket!
  4. Do not write on the card, at least not in front of the person.

Any other tip? What do you think?

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Julien Roger

I am Managing director of Asia Quality Focus. I live in Asia from 2003. Before creating AQF in 2007, I gained a strong sense of accountability and a philosophy about quality by working for big multinationals in intellectual property and quality control. I like to work in team and enjoy sharing my experience with other professionals.

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10 responses to “The art of giving business cards in China”

  1. Business cards have a long history. They date to the beginning of the 17th Century in England where they were known as trade cards. For many businesses, the cards were the primary form of advertising, featuring a name, an illustration that identified the business, and a map, since no formal street numbering system existed at that time.

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  2. Business cards have a long history. They date to the beginning of the 17th Century in England where they were known as trade cards. For many businesses, the cards were the primary form of advertising, featuring a name, an illustration that identified the business, and a map, since no formal street numbering system existed at that time.

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  3. […] not to be taken lightly. For rules and information, check out one of our articles from last year, The Art of giving business cards in China.Lines are just a mere formality. When waiting in a line, don’t be timid! Chinese tend to ignore […]

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  4. […] The way you present business cards is not to be taken lightly. For rules and information, check out one of our articles from last year, The Art of giving business cards in China. […]

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  5. […] The art of giving business cards in China […]

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  6. […] dans un domaine où savoir dire « ni hao », maîtriser l’art du « ganbei », ou encore donner la carte d’affaire à deux mains sont devenus un peu futiles par rapport à la réflexion à faire et aux stratégies […]

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  7. Jacob Yount says:

    These are some good foundational reminders.  Always important to “reach across the aisle” and show an understanding of the culture with which you are doing business.  A little gesture and understanding goes a long way. 

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  8. Jacob Yount says:

    These are some good foundational reminders.  Always important to “reach across the aisle” and show an understanding of the culture with which you are doing business.  A little gesture and understanding goes a long way. 

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  9. This is brilliant and some points can be applied in any country

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  10. This is brilliant and some points can be applied in any country

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