Giving gifts is an important part of the Chinese culture. There are many reasons why Chinese people place such an importance on giving gifts, and here are some examples of why:
- To build and maintain personal or business relationships
- To promote business products or services
- To enhance the image and reputation of a company
- To show appreciation for something
- To show respect for someone
- To express an apology
- To celebrate an occasion or congratulate on an achievment
- To acknowledge a host’s generosity
Oftentimes, Chinese people will reciprocate a gift with another gift than a card or message. This is considered polite in Chinese culture.
There are even times when gift-giving is expected of you. When you are visiting someone in China, for example, and especially if you are a guest in their house, it is important that you bring a gift in order to show respect to the host. Weddings and birthdays are also occasions when gift-giving is considered a must, but this is closely reflected in Irish culture as well.
Unlike in Ireland, it is in the Chinese nature to initially refuse a gift, sometimes repeatedly. It is expected, however, that the giver will persist and the recipient’s acceptance will eventually follow.
As in the Japanese culture, it is considered proper etiquette to present gifts with two hands. This is the also the same with business cards.
Part 2 of the Giving Gifts in China series will focus on gift ideas.