Cyprus Culture of Business

By | July 24, 2022

Subchapters:

  • Introduction
  • Addressing
  • Business Meeting
  • Communication
  • Recommendations
  • Public Holidays

Introduction

Although Cyprus is a European island nation, in the past it was inhabited by many different peoples, which influenced not only its culture, but also the way of communication and trade. The Cypriot market is not very large and is well handled by local companies. The use of local agents/representatives is therefore usual for longer-term cooperation. A sales representative must be registered in Cyprus with the Council of Sales Representatives and hold a license with a registration number. In such a case, cooperation is usually regulated by a binding contract of representation.

Addressing

In Cyprus, you don’t have to worry about contacting your chosen partner, either in person or through a Cypriot intermediary. Cypriots are very friendly and will certainly accompany you at least at the first meeting with a smile on their lips, which you will then have to maintain for quite a long time, because if your Cypriot counterpart does not intend to close a business with you immediately, it will be quite time-consuming to establish cooperation. Business in Cyprus is based on personal contacts or on recommendations from other Cypriot companies, or directly from family members of the trader. Very broad family ties are at the center of everyday life, business and politics in Cyprus. Almost all Cypriots speak fairly good English, so you will need a Cypriot intermediary mainly for their contacts.

Business meeting

Even though Cypriots belong to southern nations, compared to other southern European countries, they go to business meetings relatively early, and if you are late for some reason, they will not be angry with you in most cases. The meeting environment usually does not matter too much, although islanders like food and most meetings take place in bars, cafeterias or restaurants, they may even invite you to their office. Always have a business card with you, it will help you in the introduction and most importantly you won’t have to repeat your name several times. Your Cypriot partner will probably call you by your first name, you are rarely called by your last name in Cyprus. At the first meeting, gifts are usually not usual, but later on you can present your business counterpart. Cypriots are certainly not shy, in many cases they can be almost jovial. The trading style is closer to the countries of the Middle East than to European countries. Despite the fact that Cypriot society is still largely male-dominated, when it comes to dealing with business, Cypriots do not differentiate between men and women in their dealings. If a Cypriot gives you a mobile phone number, it means that he is really interested in establishing cooperation with you. They say that the best heirloom in Cyprus is a mobile phone with important contacts. As traders, they are friendly, but at the same time tough and unyielding. Negotiations can be much more intensive than negotiations with the Czech partner, in both directions, both in a positive and negative sense. The length of the meeting can be very individual, sometimes the meeting can really drag on, other times the designated hour can be observed. During negotiations, Cypriots like to establish a friendly atmosphere. There are slight differences in behavior among the islanders, but rather than the region they come from, the education they have attained and whether they studied abroad or in Cyprus play a role. During a meeting, a Cypriot will usually not offer you alcohol, but if you have a business meeting in a bar or restaurant, you can order alcohol with your meal there. At least some small snacks are usually served with the alcohol. As for the clothes to choose for a business meeting, there is no difference compared to other European countries. Moderation and elegance always win, just don’t forget that during the summer the temperatures are really high in Cyprus and wearing a suit with a tie, for example, could be a bit uncomfortable for you outside of air-conditioned spaces. Before the meeting, it is good to find out who will represent the Cypriot partner and choose your team accordingly, be in the same, or fewer than your counterpart. On the first meeting, the Cypriot partner will not invite you to his house, but if you already start working with him, you will be welcome in his house. There is generally a lot of eating in Cyprus, so don’t be intimidated by the portions that will be served. Cypriots like to show off. It is customary to bring wine and/or dessert, or gifts for the children. Flowers are not often carried during visits.

Communication

If you and your Cypriot counterpart speak English or another common language at a good level, do not take a translator with you, it would unnecessarily create barriers between you. Cypriots, e.g. in offices, have a good level of English, and those who do not speak the language (e.g. elderly people in villages) will still speak at you in Greek and try to have a conversation with you. Cypriots can be opinionated on topics such as religion or the Cyprus question (the subject of the reunification of the northern and southern parts of the island). Better avoid these topics. As elsewhere, here in Cyprus the best form of communication is personal, phone calls and email come second. Visit Animalerts for more information about Cyprus culture and traditions.

Recommendation

Do not be afraid to contact the Cypriot partners, in the worst case they will reject you or not pick up the phone. Paradoxically, Cyprus is a country of lawyers, so read the terms of the contract carefully to avoid misunderstandings later. Securing documents can be time-consuming, the state administration here works at a different pace than what we are used to at home. In most cases, you have to come to the office in person, so set aside enough time for this. It is quite common for Cypriot companies to condition the purchase of goods from a foreign supplier in the event of long-term cooperation by ensuring exclusivity, or preferential conditions of collection. They justify this requirement by the limited absorption possibilities of the Cypriot market, where competition between Cypriot companies would not benefit even a foreign partner.

Public Holidays

In addition to its own national holidays, Greek national holidays are also celebrated in the Republic of Cyprus. Offices and banks are closed on the following days:

  • January 1 New Year
  • January 6. Feast of the Epiphany, the Feast of the Three Kings or Epiphany
  • March 25, a national holiday of Greece – Independence Day
  • April 1 Day of the struggle for the independence of Cyprus
  • May 1 Labor Day
  • August 15 Assumption of the Virgin Mary
  • October 1 Cyprus Independence Day – a public holiday of the Republic of Cyprus
  • 28 October National Day of Greece – “OXI” NE – commemorating Greece’s rejection of the Italian ultimatum and resistance to the 1940 invasion
  • December 25 Christmas
  • December 26. The second day of Christmas

Moving holidays:

  • Green Monday (50th day before Easter of the Greek Orthodox Church)
  • Good Friday – Epitaph (according to the Greek Orthodox Church)
  • Easter Monday (according to the Greek Orthodox Church)
  • Easter Tuesday (banks, schools and offices closed) after Easter Monday
  • Whit Monday – Cataclysm

In Cyprus, Orthodox Christianity prevails (in the northern part, Islam) and most of the holidays associated with it are celebrated in a big way. Cypriots give more importance to Easter than to Christmas and they also celebrate holidays here – name days much more than birthdays.

Cyprus Culture of Business