When you expect guests from China, e.g., a delegation or colleagues who are to take part in training, meet them at the airport or at least send someone to receive them there. Taking care of others, friendliness and hospitality are important factors for the Chinese.
Take your guests to their hotel. Make sure in advance that they will find everything that is standard for people from China: for example, an electric kettle and toiletries such as a comb, toothbrush and toothpaste. It may well be that your guests didn’t bring those articles. If necessary go to a drugstore or supermarket or show your guests where they can buy things.
Especially if your Chinese guests are coming to your country for a lengthy visit – e.g., for a course of training – it is advisable to accommodate them in a vacation rental with a kitchen. That is often the most practical solution since most Chinese like a warm meal three times a day.
The Chinese regard good personal relationships between business or project partners as an essential requirement for the success of an enterprise. So you should invite your guests to a meal or to common activities as often as possible to get to know each other better.
Be aware that the Chinese regard accepting such an invitation immediately as impolite. Instead, they will at first decline once, twice, even three times with “no thanks, not necessary“ before accepting.
Always remember that ritual turning down, and repetition of your offers enough times is expected of you as the host. And do not worry: your repeated invitations or offers will not be felt as importunate or patronizing. By doing that you show “renqing“ – “being caring and friendly”, which are central values for Chinese that are relevant in business, too.
Choose an early start for your invitation to a meal, because in China dinner is usually served between 6 and 7 p.m. Explain local dishes and what makes them special. Your Chinese guests will almost certainly have the impression that in western countries meals are quite sparse and lack some sort of community feeling. The mere fact that everyone sits behind his own single plate seems to be very isolating, while in China a large number of various foods are served on platters and everyone helps himself.
Business Meals And After Work In China
Presumably, your Chinese guests will want to see as much as possible of your country. However, short photo stops for individual objects of interest are mostly sufficient. Make suggestions on what destinations are attractive for a weekend excursion and help in organizing that.
Often it is not at all necessary to accompany your Chinese guests; they will have already made arrangements and like to travel alone. Still, raise the point and remember the ritual declining! Frequently your guests are very grateful if you are at least helpful with tips.
Chinese businesspeople often travel with a long list of things they are meant to take home for friends and relatives. Include such shopping opportunities in your planning, e.g., a trip to the major factory outlet centres. Brand-name articles are especially sought after clothing, cosmetics, watches and jewellery, but some household goods or medical items are also attractive.
Be certain to give information on opening times of shops, especially if they are closed on Sundays. In China, you can shop seven days a week till 10 p.m. and Sunday is one of the most popular shopping days.
Your guests will certainly have brought you a gift from China, probably typical Chinese things such as tea, silk neckties or small masks from Beijing Opera. It is customary to hand over a return present when saying goodbye.