Gift are in China a hard currency. Gifts can break the ice, gifts can make happy and gifts can lift relationships into another level!
In this blog post you will learn:
- Why gifts are important in China
- How to personalize them
- What gifts are appropriate to present in China
Gifts in China are an easy way to keep yourself in mind and make someone else happy. Whenever you meet someone for the first time you should prepare a small gift. To gift something, it shows the receiver that you care about the relationship and that you are interested in building a relationship with him or her. As soon as you know what your friend, business partner or future girlfriend likes make sure to personalize your gifts that you present, when meeting again. When you learn, your business partner loves to golf, gift him or her – depending on the kind of relationship – some golf balls, a golf bag or even golf clubs. When he or she loves to travel, gift a book about the next destination he or she wants to travel to. Gifts doesn’t need to be expensive. But they should show the person receiving the gift that you made some thought about it.
Personalize your gifts by listening to your interlocutor
Businesswise you should always weight up what gift is reasonable. It should let you keep your face (a two-dollar gift would mean you don’t take the relationship seriously and/or that you are bankrupt), but at the same time it should not be that expensive that it looks like you want to bribe someone.
What gifts are appropriate in China?
When you meet someone for the first time it is always a good idea to bring something from back home. For instance, when you are from Europe try to bring something local from your area. It is a perfect icebreaker to talk about the gift, its history, heritage and elaborate what topics your conversation partner is interested in. When you are from Austria bring some original Tirol Bacon, when you are from Cologne bring some Cologne Beer or 4711 perfume, when you are from Paris, bring something love or Eifel tower related.
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In the end there is no perfect gift – it always depends! What most of the time works fine: Chocolate, Lamy ink pens (important: mount and EF feather, it’s the smallest one to be able to write Chinese characters), dietary supplements and when the budget and occasion allows it: a Louis Vuitton or Gucci bag or other luxury goods that may please everyone, that loves this style.
How to present gifts in China?
When you want to wrap gifts into wrapping paper use golden or red colored ones. It represents luck, prosperity and wealth.
It is not common to unwrap wrapped gifts while the giver is still around. When the gift is not appealing, nobody will lose its face and the gift can be given to the next person in future – that’s why it is not a bad thing to gift something that may not the perfect gifts. Another reason is when there are several gifts it may become a contest, who gave the biggest and most expensive gift. To prevent that someone may lose their face by giving a less expensive gift, it is always a good choice to unwrap gifts when alone.
However, it works different when presenting alcohol. It is common to gift bottles of alcohol without any wrapping. That leads to the situation that the person that is being presented with the gift will immediately invite every guest to try the drink as soon as possible. That’s an awesome icebreaker as well and it is common to bring you own drink in Chinese restaurants. That means even when you are having dinner outside you can share the gifted drinks with all guests around.