Hong Kong, China Culture of Business

By | July 24, 2022

Culture of business dealings

Subchapters:

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

Introduction

Hong Kong is a very cosmopolitan metropolis, in which cultural elements of the West and the East mix. It always depends on who your negotiating partner is, and there is a whole range of possibilities – your business partner can be from mainland China, a European with international experience, or a Hong Konger with an American education. For this reason too, in the case of Hong Kong, you do not need to fundamentally adapt your behavior and you can rely on the general principles of business etiquette.

Addressing

The first contact is usually formal and it is customary to exchange business cards first. If you are not sure in communication which of your counterpart’s names is a surname, it is good to know that local businessmen usually state their surname in capitals on their business cards (or in their signature). Business meetings tend to be more formal in Hong Kong, so it’s best to stick with Mr. XY/Mrs. XY unless they offer you a more informal first name.

If you first meet someone in person, for example during a trade fair, it is customary to exchange business cards. We recommend having business cards available in a bilingual version, i.e. in English and Chinese. Be sure to give and receive the business card with both hands. Handing out a business card with one hand can be considered disrespectful. Ideally, present the business card in such a way that it is easy for your partner to read. It is not unusual for your counterpart to bow slightly as part of the thank you. It is considered polite to rest your eyes on the business card you have just received for a moment before tucking it away in the business card holder. If you consider the contact to be promising and if you want to build good relations and maintain the interest of the counterpart, we recommend that you write a short courtesy email within about a day of getting to know each other.

Business meeting

J Arranging a meeting in Hong Kong takes place in a similar way as in the Czech Republic. If you do not have a meeting place available in Hong Kong, it is not a problem to arrange a restaurant as the meeting place. Lunchtime can generally be considered less formal and more business-like than dinnertime. Standard time for lunch in Hong Kong is between 12:30-14:00, dinner time starts after 18h. Advance table reservation is a must. An alternative location for the meeting can be a meeting room in the hotel, if this is available. Punctuality belongs to good manners. Especially in the summer months (May-September), high temperatures and considerable humidity prevail in Hong Kong. At the same time, all interior spaces are air-conditioned. The best choice is therefore clothing made from natural materials. Hong Kongers are very particular about a well-groomed appearance, it is not uncommon for men to have a tailored suit.

Gender is not an issue in Hong Kong. Society is very egalitarian in this respect. Much more important than gender is status and education.

Even in the case of recommendations for business meetings, it is not appropriate to generalize. Everything always depends on the specific counterpart, the size of the company and the volume of the potential agreement. Undoubtedly, inviting a business partner and paying a joint bill is a welcoming gesture.

Communication

The official languages ​​in Hong Kong are English, Cantonese and Mandarin. In general, it can be assumed that your business partner will have a knowledge of English at the level of a native speaker, or very good. Many local entrepreneurs are graduates of foreign, often British, schools. In the vast majority, there is no need to worry about interpreting into Cantonese or Mandarin. The situation may be slightly different for small local companies, where it is necessary to assume worse (or no) expressive skills in the English language. Visit Animalerts for more information about China culture and traditions.

In terms of means of communication, we recommend e-mail as well as personal communication. It is somewhat curious that in Hong Kong the fax is still considered a standard form of communication and, for example, state institutions regularly communicate information about tenders by fax (in parallel with communication via mail and the web).

Hongkongers are direct and tough negotiators. However, it is a big faux pas if you push your counterpart into a corner in negotiations or communication and he “loses face”. The feeling of losing face is very hard to bear in the local culture. It is therefore important to keep in mind that even if you can defeat your counterpart with excellent arguments, this strategy will often take you further away from closing the deal victoriously.

Recommendation

Hong Kong is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Although there are also very affordable dining rooms, a certain level of restaurant equipment is expected for business meetings – for example, the lunch menu is in the range of 200-600 HKD, which is 600-1800 CZK per person. In Hong Kong, an automatic tip (service charge) in the amount of 10% of the total spend is added to the account by default, additional tips are not expected and are given only in case of extreme satisfaction.

Public Holidays

  • January 1 – New Year
  • 1st day of 1st month (lunar calendar) – Lunar New Year (specifically Chinese New Year): usually celebrated in late January or early February; the most important of the traditional holidays
  • 2nd day of the 1st month (lunar calendar) – 2nd day of the Lunar New Year
  • 3rd day of the 1st month (lunar calendar) – 3rd day of the Lunar New Year
  • April 5 (April 4 in leap years) – Ching Ming Festival: a day to honor the ancestors of Easter
  • May 1 Labor Day
  • 8th day of the 4th month (lunar calendar) – Buddha’s birthday: usually occurs in May; new holiday established in 1998 (generally not statutory)
  • 5th day of the 5th month (lunar calendar) – Dragon Boat Festival (Tuen Ng Festival): usually celebrated in June; a day for patriotic remembrance, rice dumpling eating and dragon boat racing
  • July 1 – Foundation Day of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
  • 16th day of the 8th month (lunar calendar) – The day following the Mid-Autumn Festival: usually in September; an important autumn celebration of harvest and belonging with lighting lanterns, eating mooncakes and gazing at the moon
  • October 1 Public holiday of the PRC 9th day of the 9th month (lunar calendar) – Chung Yeung Festival: in October; a day to honor the old and the dead
  • December 25 Christmas Day
  • December 26

Contacts

Subchapters:

  • Contacts to Czech embassies in the territory
  • Practical telephone numbers (emergency services, police, firefighters, information lines, etc.)
  • Important Internet links and contacts

Contacts at the embassies of the Czech Republic in the territory

Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Hong Kong

1204-5 Great Eagle Center 23 Harbor Road,

Wanchai Hong Kong

tel.: +852/ 2802 2212

fax: +852/ 2802 2911

e-mail: [email protected]

website: www.mfa.cz/hongkong

territorial jurisdiction: Hong Kong and Macao

Apart from the Consulate General of the Czech Republic, other Czech institutions are not represented in Hong Kong. Within the PRC, they have representatives in Beijing – PaulTrade, CzechTourism, in Shanghai – PaulTrade, Czech Invest, CzechTourism and in Chengdu PaulTrade.

Practical telephone numbers (emergency services, police, firemen, information lines, etc.)

  • Emergency call 999 – police, fire, ambulance and medical assistance
  • International phone code: +852

Important web links and contacts

  • List of government contacts and authorities: www.info.gov.hk/orgindex.htm
  • Invest Hong Kong: www.investhk.gov.hk
  • Commercial Register: www.cr.gov.hk/en/home/index.htm
  • Bureau of Statistics: https://www.censtatd.gov.hk/en/
  • Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Email: [email protected], Web: www.tdctrade.com
  • Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, email: [email protected], website: www.hkgcc.org.hk
  • Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, Email: [email protected], Web: www.cgcc.org.hk
  • Federation of Hong Kong Industries, Email: [email protected], Web: www.fhki.org.hk
  • Chinese Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong, Email: [email protected], Web: www.cma.org.hk
  • Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Hong Kong: www.mzv.cz/hongkong
  • Doing Business in Hong Kong: www.business.gov.hk
  • Small and Medium Enterprises: www.sme.gcn.gov.hk
  • Fairs and Exhibitions: www.hktdcfairs.com
  • HK Yellow Pages: www.yp.com.hk
  • Business License Information Service: www.licence.tid.gov.hk

Hong Kong, China Culture of Business