GIFT GIVING IN SOUTH
KOREA*- Gift Giving Etiquette
BUSINESS GIFT GIVING /
PERSONAL GIFT GIVING
Giving gifts to acquire favors or build
relationships is a common practice in the workplace, and reciprocity is
While your gift will demonstrate your
thoughtfulness, where it was made is also of crucial importance. They will
appreciate gifts from your own country or regions. Avoid items made in the
underdeveloped countries, unless they are cultural icons or souvenirs.
Gift-giving is often practiced in a business
setting. Good gifts for a first trip include office items with your company
logo or something that is commemorative of your home region. Your gift
should be of good quality but modestly priced.
When you plan to give a gift to several people
within an organization, be sure to give a gift of greater value to the
senior person. The gifts you present to that person's subordinates may be
similar, as long as they are of lesser value than the one you give their
superior. Or, you can give a gift that the whole team can enjoy.
A gift of money should be put in an envelope.
Cash is popular for weddings, holidays [for children], birthdays, funerals,
When visiting a family, suitable gifts include
crafts from your home region, fruit, cake, chocolates, flowers, imported
coffee, etc. Imported liquor and cigarettes may be given to those who like
to drink and smoke.
Expect initial resistance to receiving a gift.
This reluctance is considered good manners, so be persistent.
Use both hands when giving or receiving a gift.
Gifts are not opened in the presence of the giver, unless you are a very
good friend. If so, you can ask him/her, 'Do you want me to open it?'
Whenever a person receives a gift, it is
customary for the recipient to give another gift of similar value in return
at a later time. Therefore, when you give a gift, ensure that it is
compatible with the recipient's economic means because if he or she cannot
reciprocate, 'loss of face' will result. Similarly, if you receive a gift
that is far too extravagant and a potential bribe, send it back, citing your
firm's policy not to accept a gift with a certain $ amount. You should be
very polite in returning it and express your gratitude and regret for not
being able to accept such generosity.
*Kim Ph.D, Eun Y. South Korea Business
Etiquette - Gift Giving. Executive Planet. 16 Aug. 2004
Above: The flag of South Korea