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State offers tips for doing business in China, from censors to soup

April 08, 2013|By Anthony York
  • Delegates traveling with Gov. Jerry Brown received this handout about business etiquette in the country.
Delegates traveling with Gov. Jerry Brown received this handout about… (Anthony York )

BEIJING -- Hand out your business card with two hands. Go ahead and slurp your soup. Give a gift to a client, but by all means, avoid clocks and knives.

These are among the pointers, cultural hints and etiquette tips the state's new China Trade and Investment office is offering delegates traveling with Gov. Jerry Brown, who arrives in Beijing on Tuesday.

The new office will open later this week when Brown travels to Shanghai for the official ribbon cutting. The estimated $1 million it will cost to run the office every year is being raised by the Bay Area Council, a nonprofit business group that has also organized Brown's weeklong trip here.

Delegates were welcomed Monday night with an eight-page booklet complete with some do's and don'ts:

Maybe means no: The "Chinese seldom say no," the pamphlet says. "Instead they would say, 'it's not convenient' or 'we'll think about it.'" Delegates are also advised to "avoid confrontation" in their business dealings.

Drinking tea: "Drink with both hands on the cup/bowl." No dangling dainty fingers here.

Give yourself a hand: "If you are introduced and people clap, it is considered polite to clap along."

Among a list of topics deemed "sensitive": Tibet and Taiwan, media censorship, religion and the 1989 crackdown on protesters in Tiananmen Square.


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