Because of increasing personal and business connections with foreign countries or various cultures in the United States, it is important to gain knowledge about their customs and culture. This knowledge will create a congenial and proper environment in which positive relations and commerce can flourish. Etiquette tips for gift giving in China and Japan follow.
CHINA: The Chinese often give elaborate welcoming banquets for their guests. There is no business discussion during the event, and one must accept the invitation that later needs to be reciprocal. The importance of the banquet event is to open communication and develop friendships and trust. Small impersonal gifts are often exchanged during the final negotiations, and are not opened in front of others, unless the giver insists. Government policy states that personal business gifts are against the law. .
If invited to one’s home, a small wrapped gift of stamps, pictures, books, liquor, or a calendar with the year’s symbol is appreciated by the hosts. Certain colors and numbers should be avoided: black, dark colors and white indicate misfortune or death. Thirteen is bad luck; even numbers are positive. Only for weddings and the Chinese New Year is money given. Avoid giving a clock, as this symbolizes death. Luxury items and apples are not acceptable. Generally, flowers may be seen around a home in vases, but not presented as a gift. They are for funerals. Red means Happiness or Good Luck.