5 Hong Kong Business Norms You Need to Be Aware Of

Hong Kong Businesses

Hong Kong has been a centre of business for centuries, so it’s no surprise that it’s still considered one of the world’s leading business cities. Business practices in Hong Kong are very different from how business is done in the West.  Hong Kong’s business culture has developed customs that reflect the Asian heritage of the region.

If you want to be successful in the Hong Kong market, it’s important to be aware of these customs and even more important to implement them.  Doing so shows respect for the people with whom you do business, and respect is a very big part of Hong Kong business life. Here are few business norms that you should know before doing business in Hong Kong:

Office Space is Pricey—And Unnecessary

Because it is so expensive to have office space in Hong Kong’s business district, many companies are looking at alternatives to working in a standard office setup.  Virtual offices are the way of the future, at least in Hong Kong.

A virtual office from a firm like Servcorp can supply a professional receptionist to field your calls, advanced technology solutions, meeting rooms, support services and an upscale street address. (Click here for more information on our virtual office specials.) With a virtual office, all the worry and concerns of running an office are managed by the company, giving you more time to concentrate on your most important work—running your business.

Business Cards are Treated with Respect

Many of us use business cards almost like scrap paper.  We write notes, phone numbers, and reminders to ourselves on our own business cards and those of others.  If you work in Hong Kong, this is not acceptable. There is a certain etiquette for business cards because doing so shows respect for the person who is represented on the card.

When you are given a card, always take a few moments to look at it carefully before putting it away.  If you must write on a business card, do not write on it in front of the person who gave the card to you.  Keep your own business cards in a case to keep them in perfect condition.

Make sure that one side of your card has been translated into Chinese. Ensure that the Chinese is written in classical Chinese characters used in Hong Kong, not the simplified Chinese from the mainland. If possible have the Chinese characters printed in gold because gold is auspicious.  When you present your card, always use both hands and always present it with the Chinese side facing up.

Feng Shui is a Big Deal in the Business World

People who open an office in Hong Kong almost always consult a Feng Shui expert.  These Feng Shui professionals will recommend a location for an office, the date for moving, opening the office, and arranging office furniture.

To many business professionals, Feng Shui is another valuable business tool that they use to increase their business success.  Many Hong Kong business people will not do business without consulting a Feng Shui expert. Using Feng Shui for business is an important custom that should not be ignored or disrespected.

The Culture of Business Meetings

Business meeting in Hong Kong usually begin with a bit of small talk before business matters, and most business meetings have tea served during them.  After being served tea, wait until your host drinks his or her tea before drinking yours.

During business meetings, stay calm. If you lose your temper, you “lose face”. Refrain from using high-pressure tactics.  Decisions are made more slowly so don’t expect an answer immediately.

Always Be On Time

Punctuality is expected so always be on time. If you’re running late, always call to let your business associate know what time you will be arriving.  If someone is late keeping an appointment with you, most people allow a 30-minute window for the late arrival, before cancelling the meeting.

In the Hong Kong business world, respect isn’t some vague concept but an actual value that businessmen use every day in many ways.  Showing respect for others will definitely help your business succeed.

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