Successful Entertaining in Hong Kong

As in many places in Asia, business entertaining is an important and integral part of the commercial cycle.

With relationship building high on the agenda in Hong Kong, it is vital to take every opportunity to wine and dine with colleagues or clients. The person who makes the invitation will be expected to pay for the meal — even if people protest and offer to pick up the bill (this is merely play-acting and nobody would expect you to accept their offer.)

During the meal, the conversation will be very wide-ranging and may take in such topics as food, the weather, sport, money, family, education and even general business topics (rather than the specifics of a deal.) It is probably best to avoid such topics as politics, human rights etc.

Both lunch and dinner can be very significant meals with many courses and dishes being presented. It is probably best to try a little of everything, rather than trying to eat too much from the early courses. It is considered impolite to finish everything on the table as this implies that your hosts have not provided enough food.

The chopsticks you are given at the start of the meal are expected to last throughout the meal. When not using them, rest them on the chopstick rest by your place setting or on the table — never leave then sticking in the rice.

Eating can be a relatively noisy affair as belching and slurping are seen as signs of appreciation for the quality of the meal on offer.

A brief overview of some key concepts to consider when doing business in Hong Kong

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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Hong Kong is seen by many people as the gateway to mainland China – a stepping stone to the riches promised by the potential of the People’s Republic. Combine this view with Hong Kong’s inherent historical strength as an international trading hotspot and you can start to understand why Hong Kong punches well above its weight.

Hong Kong is a bustling cosmopolitan city state where East meets West and expats from all over the world mingle with locals and visitors from mainland China. Hong Kong island is home to the regional headquarters of hundreds of global companies who see Hong Kong’s unique geographical and economic position as an ideal hub from which to control their Asian operations.

Any company looking at expanding its Asia footprint is likely to find itself evaluating the benefits of starting a permanent establishment in the territory but Hong Kong should be seen as more than just a hub destination – Hong Kong also represents an attractive market in itself. With an affluent, well-educated population of savvy consumers you should also consider doing business in Hong Kong as an opportunity to sell your products and services.

However, this dynamic bustling market presents certain challenges for business people who are looking to do business in the country and top of these challenges is gaining an understanding of the complex local business culture. Are you dealing with a local Hong Kong partner, a Western expat or someone from the People’s Republic of China? If you are dealing with a local Hong Kong contact were they educated in Hong Kong or abroad – (this might affect the way they do business)? It is definitely worth taking some time out to explore some of the key business culture issues you might encounter on the island.

This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Hong Kong business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on:

  • Background to business
  • Business Structures
  • Management style
  • Meetings
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Women in business
  • Entertaining
  • Top tips