Worldwide customs - Hong Kong (supplement to China)

I tail on Hong Kong to my previous article about China since there are many differences to tell. You can’t generalize all what you read about China to Hong Kong. For 99 years Hong Kong was a British colony or better said Great Britain rented Honk Kong from China during a contract which expired in 1997. Even though China reintegrated Hong Kong, the long period spent under the British power changed people. We can identify similar models between Singapore and Hong Kong where the occidental enterprising spirit combined with hard oriental labor style resulted in a very successful combination, mentioning that in Hong Kong everything is higher including salaries compared to Singapore.
The fact that Hong Kong became a colony had no bad effect on China in general, on the contrary because created the perfect connection between China and the occidental world and a perfect backup for relations with Taiwan and South Korea.
Anyway the reintegration process can’t be too easy when China and Hong Kong don’t share so many things in mentality and communication. Hong Kong is more US then China style, the rush, the rhythm to create more and more new business possibilities makes Chinese living in Hong Kong different. Taking these facts we can admire China’s approach to not try to interfere and change too much Hong Kong, showing a wise decisions for a place which really works well.
How to interact with Chinese living in Hong Kong? It’s actually easy, they are opened, like Americans and British people, easy to adjust to new and are less superstitious.

The Hong Kong Chinese is cosmopolitan so rules are more relaxed compared to the rest of China. Still similarity regarding etiquette, meetings, dinner exists. So if you know already Chinese customs, using them you will be welcomed here as well. In business meetings you will feel more personal touch in discussion and no need to feel embarrassment since they just want to establish a more complex relationship with you and know you better, although a long standing personal relationship is not required but appreciated. Will be much easier the meeting here because they are used to treat constantly people from all over world. It’s good to maintain silence time to time since it’s considered a form of communication so if your host becomes silent respect it and don’t rush to interrupt. They are like all Chinese regarding the “no” word, they don’t like it and rarely use to avoid offense or confrontation.

Normal meeting and negotiating rules from all over China applies here, so you can keep them. Some extra info would be that appointments here need to be made 1-2 month before the meeting. For all Chinese the New Year is important so better don’t set any meetings around that time. Contract signings and other important dates are many times set after Astrology dates or Feng Shui so don’t be surprised. Don’t forget to use your title in presentation and on your business card because of their hierarchism.

Gift giving tips (applicable in China and Hong Kong)
  • Use both hands to receive or give a gift.
  • Take care of anything implying numbers: 4 is forbidden and 8 rules.
  • Don’t use just any colors: red and gold are considered lucky colors, but never red flowers.
  • No to: red and white flowers; cutting utensils; clocks; handkerchiefs or straw sandals; white, blue or black wrap paper; green hats for children.
  • Gifts won’t be opened when received and many times accepted just after 1 or 2 refusals.

    Good luck !

Read also: Worldwide customs – India – Learn negotiating like and Indian ! *** Worldwide customs – Quick guide to prevent mistakes – Asia (I) *** Worldwide customs – China – Understanding Chinese people

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