Top 8 Things NOT to do on your Shanghai Summer Internship

Top 8 Things NOT to do on your Shanghai Summer Internship

Chinese business etiquette might be a little different from what you’re used to. Here’s our handy list to avoid business blunders during your internship in the Far East! 

1. Arrive late.

Punctuality is extremely important to the Chinese. You should arrive early to work and at appointments to show respect.

2. Dress too casually.

If you’re doubting between two outfits, always choose the more formal option as it expresses seriousness for the task at hand.

3. Offend your superiors.

Always address the most senior person in the room first and use their official titles like “Director” or “Chairman” before their names.

4. Forget a gift….

It’s a good idea to give your intern supervisor a small token from your home country. It shouldn’t be too fancy or expensive but meaningful and unique to your culture. Avoid clocks, sharp objects or green hats as these have negative connotations. Don’t give out anything in a set of four either, it’s an unlucky number because it sounds like “death” in Chinese.

5. …Or use monochrome wrapping paper.

The colors black and white are associated with funerals so have negative connotations. Red is best, while pink, gold and silver are also aceptable.

6. Be unprepared for a meeting

Everyone will have read up on the meeting topic and be ready with their notes. You are expected to do the same. If you are presenting a business proposal, make sure there are more than enough copies of it for the number of people attending the meeting.

7. Eat before your host.

Building personal relationships is necessary when doing business in China, so dining together is essential. Take the lead from your host in these situations. Eat when they eat, try a little of every dish and don’t go into hard negotiations during the meal.

8. Use only one hand when exchanging business cards.

You should hand out and accept business cards with two hands. The same goes for gifts. Take some time to read the card to express your interest. Don’t put it away too hastily or you could offend someone!

Got any questions about Chinese Business culture? Let us know in the comments! 


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