GIFT GIVING IN HONG KONG*
- Gift Giving Etiquette
BUSINESS GIFT GIVING / PERSONAL GIFT GIVING
If one receives a gift, he or she tries to give a gift in return.
- Gift giving is an intricate and important practice
in Hong Kong.
Accept and give gifts with both hands.
Unwrapping a gift in front of the giver is not a common practice.
This action implies that the recipient is greedy and impatient. Moreover,
if the gift turns out to be a poor choice, “loss of face” will result.
Instead, the recipient will briefly say “thank-you”, set aside the gift,
and then open it only after your departure.
It is becoming an accepted practice for companies to send Christmas
as well as Lunar New Year cards to all business associates.
Hosting a banquet is a very acceptable gift for Chinese clients,
and is required if they have hosted one for you.
If you are invited to a home, take candy, cookies, fruit, scotch,
and related gifts.
Do not excessively admire, for example, a decorative object in a
home--your host may feel obligated to give it to you.
At Chinese New Year, it is customary to present a gift of money in
a red envelope to children and to the nongovernmental service personnel
you deal with on a regular basis. The gift is called a “hong bao.” Ensure
that you give only new bills in even numbers and even amounts. Many
employers give each employee a “hong bao” equivalent to one month's
- Items from your home country, handicrafts, an
illustrated book, jazz CDs, assuming the recipient is interested in this
genre, Western items such as belt buckles
Gifts to Avoid
- The following items traditionally have had very
negative connotations and, consequently, are best avoided:
clocks--connote death, books--for a gambler, they represent a curse to
lose, blankets--believed to cause a decline in prosperity, green
hats--imply that you are a cuckold or that your sister is a prostitute,
unwrapped gifts--perceived as rude, gifts wrapped in blue--the color of
*Hong Kong Business Etiquette - Gift Giving.
Executive Planet. 30 July 2004
Above: The flag of Hong Kong