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How to say hello in Chinese


Learning a new language can be time consuming and hard work. It’s well worth the effort if you have regular business dealings in another country but to start with, why not master just a few words and phrases in the local language. This is a great way to show respect and build your relationships.

In the Asian Century, you are likely to find yourself doing business with people from China, which is why The Naked CEO has developed a 50-part series to help you learn some important business words and phrases.

In the first episode, we have started right at the beginning with the most common greeting - ‘hello’.

In business situations, along with local language, it’s also helpful to understand some of the accompanying etiquette.


10 tips for exchanging business cards in China

1. Business cards are often referred to as name cards in China.

2. Organise dual-sided cards, with English on one side and Chinese on the other, with your title clearly displayed.

3. Take plenty of cards with you as you will be expected to exchange cards with nearly everyone you meet.

4. Exchange cards on meeting by presenting your card with two hands as a sign of respect.

5. When you present the card, the Chinese side should be facing upwards so the recipient can read it.

6. In a group, always distribute your cards one by one following this process, preferably in order of seniority. Don’t put a pile of cards on the table and invite people to take one.

7. It is preferable to be standing when exchanging cards.

8. It is polite to study the card for a moment, and you can even read out the title for those in senior positions as many people will like this. Then either place the card on the table next to you or in your case. Never put a card you receive in your back pocket.

9. Do not use cards that are dirty or crumpled.

10.If necessary, add extra information to your card if it is missing, like a local telephone number, but do not write on a card you receive as there are differing opinions on whether this is disrespectful, so better to play it safe.


Did you know?

In Hong Kong and some parts of China, Cantonese is spoken instead of Chinese (Mandarin). To say hello in Cantonese you would say néih hóu (你好) instead of ni hao. Phonetically, that sounds like ‘nay hoe’.


This video is the first in a fifty-part weekly series, so follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook to receive notifications when new episodes are released so you can learn more Chinese words and phrases with The Naked CEO.


Give yourself an unfair advantage in the Asian century

Alex Malley
The Naked CEO

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