This will no doubt seem strange, but one of the most important things to arm yourself with, before doing business in Hong Kong, is Business cards, or Name Cards as they are also known. Name cards are used all over the globe, but nowhere are they taken more seriously then Hong Kong. Hong Kong business card etiquette is essential to doing business in the city.
Literally everybody has a business card in Hong Kong, from the chairman of a company to shop assistants, they are a way of life. Any employee who represents a company to outsiders should carry name cards. To Hong Kongers, business cards represent that a company is proud to be associated with their representative.
If you are given a name card and don’t offer one in return, you can basically close-up business then and there. This signals one of two things; either you have no status in your own company; or you are disinterested in the person or company presenting the card - either way you won’t be making that record breaking deal.
You will find several people in the same company offering you their business card, from Director to Secretary. You may only 'really' need the directors, however it is good manners to receive and return to each person. For this reason make sure you have enough cards when you go out, as you can easily get through them in a day of meetings.
Receiving the card also has its own etiquette. You should always face the person and receive with two hands, although this custom is becoming less formal. More importantly, don’t discard or deface the card, this includes writing contact details or addresses – this is tantamount to a slap in the face for the owner of the card.
If you’ve arrived in Hong Kong and need to have more business cards made, your hotel concierge will able to sort it out, usually overnight.
- Bring enough cards along to each meeting.
- Offer cards to those who offer theirs.
- Face the person, and receive the card with two hands.
- Offer your card with two hands.
- Discard or Deface the card.
On the Card
- Address- both international and local if applicable
- Logo – this is perceived as a sign the company is reputable