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.
Global Business culture is a leading training provider in the fields of cross-cultural communication and global virtual team working. We provide training to global corporations in live classroom-based formats, through webinars and also through our cultural awareness digital learning hub, Global Business Compass.
This World Business Culture profile is designed as an introduction to business culture in Hong Kong only and a more detailed understanding needs a more in-depth exploration which we can provide through our training and consultancy services.