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Handshaking is the accepted greeting. Chinese usually shake hands very lightly instead of taking the hand firmly and forcefully pumping it, and in China a handshake may last as long as 10 seconds. Maybe you should wait for the Chinese to extend a hand first, since not everyone uses this gesture. In China the most useful form of greeting is a nod or slight bow. Upon meeting someone, Chinese lower their eyes slightly as a sign of respect. Staring into the eyes of a Chinese might make them uncomfortable.

Face-being respected by one's peers--is very important to the Chinese. They are enormously sensitive to maintaining face in everything they do. Saying or doing anything that causes someone to lose face can instantly destroy a relationship and any business that might result from it. Never insult or openly criticize someone in front of others. Don't make fun of a Chinese, even if only as a joke. Do not treat someone as a person of lowly rank if their position in the company is high. A person's face is also their company's face. The relationship you develop with a person represents your relationship with his entire company. Gifts are important, expressing friendship and symbolizing hopes for success. But expensive gifts can cause personal embarrassment and political or social awkwardness. For wrapped gifts, gold or red are appropriate colors. White and black are colors of mourning.


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