Hong Kong – the “face” of business
Hong Kong is a region on the southern coast of China geographically enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea. With a population of over seven million people, it is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. The population is 93.6% ethnic Chinese and 6.4% from other groups. English and Chinese are Hong Kong’s two official languages, although English is the language of the business and service industries.
The limited space in Hong Kong has resulted in it becoming the world’s most vertical city. The confined area has also led to a highly developed transportation network with the public transport travelling rate exceeding 90 percent, the highest in the world.
It is important to understand the concept of “face” when doing business in Hong Kong. Face is an intangible quality that reflects a person’s reputation, dignity, and prestige. Companies as well as individuals have face and this is often the rationale behind business transactions. When greeting, many Hong Kong Chinese lower their eyes as a sign of respect; it is not compulsory for the visitor to do the same but prolonged eye contact should be avoided. The Chinese traditionally have 3 names: the surname, or family name, followed by a personal names (which is their father’s name), and then their own name.
Do not wrap gifts in white, blue or black paper and never give red or white flowers and avoid giving a quantity of four items; eight, however, is an auspicious number, and gold and red are lucky colours. Be aware that your gift may be refused one or two times before it is accepted.
Women play an important role in business life in Hong Kong and this is especially true amongst the larger multi-nationals. More traditional Confucian attitudes to women in the workplace can be found in the small to medium sectors but female family members can have positions of significant power and influence.
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Sources: Wikipedia, Kwintessential, Culture Crossing