I’d like to us you guys for some advice. I work as a designer for an American corporation with operations in China, mostly injection-molding and assembly and some support engineering as well. I’ll be going on a trip soon to visit the China facilities and I’d like to know what would be good gifts to bring, especially for the people working 14-hour shifts for $5 a day. Snickers bars? T-shirts? What would people there appreciate the most?
You sound condscending, you know…
Maybe a peanut M+M each, to symbolise an american visit, sweet at first then creamy finished with a crunchy blandness, ultimately left with nothing tangable.
What are you talking about? All I meant was I would like to bring some gift they’d appreciate, especially when some things we take for granted aren’t as affordable to most people over there. Any input would be greatly apppreciated.
johnny are you chewing gum? did you bring enough for the whole class…?
just who gets to receive these gifts? will you bestow everyone you meet with something?
I have been fortunate to be able to travel some myself; canada, japan, south america, and germany.
my advice would be to bring an open mind, a sense of humor, humility, a willingness to try a speak their language, eat their food, and get to know their culture. you will be able to give everyone you meet some of these.
leave the bling at home and dress as informally as you can get by with,
it probably won’t be that last time you’ll be there.
I think IOTA has a sincere question that everyone seems to be jumping all over. I go to China to do the same thing he will be doing (five times a year).
The factory people I deal with in China live very simple lives because of the pay scale there. They enjoy things like being treated to a nice dinner or lunch. They also enjoy drinking beer, which works out nicely - because I do too.
Leave the gifts at home. Often people with humble means are offended by too much generousity. I once gave a toy to a friend for his daughter and I think he was embarrased.
It’s not a good idea to roll into town like one of the Rockefellers and start handing out goodies. Be discreet.
Have a great trip - and don’t drink the Chinese white wine.
no need for trinkets or gifts.
i agree with the above post. the best thing you can do is to talk to some people that have travelled there for business before and are familiar with some of the cultural differences. accepting a business card with both hands and handing yours in return with both hands is a good place to start. i watched a westerner throw out his business cards at our vendors as if he was dealing a poker hand. loss of face for our vendor and loss of face for him. getting a grasp for the concept of face is important.
if you want to get a bit of a background on why Chinese people do certain things, read this little book: Getting along with the Chinese: For Fun and Profit Written by an american who spent 30 years doing business in Asia.
when i was in china my friend gave me a music cd: the legend of Gu Qin.
Don’t bring gifts, that is tacky.
You are there to work, be humble and polite. You will learn so much about a very interesting culture. You will more than likely not work with the people on the line. You will work with engineers, directora and so on.
Don’t be the stupid American, be open and gratefull to be there.
I would say that a better question is, “what should I bring to make my trip easier and more productive?”
You can bring small gifts to the head of the office you are dealing with, but make it simple, per the above embarrassing people comment. The best gift you can give is the abilty to say thank you in their native language. For a web site with both written and audible examples go to jek - Thank You - Tack
Also, a good book I have, which they may still print is called "Does and Taboos Around the world. It was originally created by the parker Pen compnay for their executives who travel around the world. Their are a few other web sites and books that cover this. make sure any that you get specifically have a “Doing business” section, as business and social etiquette can be very different.
Lack of ignorance is the best gift I have found during international travel, especially for those who have dealt with the ignorant among us.
To add to my point, I thought it would be a nice gesture to bring gifts to the folks working on the assembly lines, especially when you consider their compention and working conditions. But I also realized that most gift gadgets and clothing garments in the U.S. come from China.
Okay the POINT is that in Chinese culture gifts are to be exchanged both ways. You are trying to feel better about yourself but what are you are doing is spreading misery. The workers who will not have time or resources to recipricate with a gift will lose face and you will make the situation worse for them.
I am not really as mad as I may sound above, but this is at the very heart of trying to project your culture on others. What may seem “the right thing” for you will only cause problems when translated.
I am usually assigned a driver and/or host that pics me up at hotel and brings me to factory. He pretty much goes everywhere with me, shows me around, translates for me, and basically makes sure I am taken care of during my visit - food, entertainment, etc…
I make sure to bring a sincere gift for this assigned person as a “thank you” gesture. They usually exchange a gift for me as well.
Best advise I’ve heard here so far is the humility one. I’d also add to show equal respect to everyone you meet, from those on the assembly line to those who run the entire shebang.
I was in Taipei doing design work for an odm, my first abroad. I agree with many of the posts above about having humility and showing respect.
I didn’t bring any gifts, in fact, I really had only a day to prepare for the trip expecting to focus on working my ass off to meet an incredibly short deadline. I did give one gift but only as a weddding present to a project manager who also played a good game of pool. I hope that the gift I gave would be in the form of successful products and a good professional relationship.
My best advice is to bring lots of business cards, greet with the eyes and courteous handshake and be open and inquisitive to learning a rich and diverse culture. And, as someone mentioned above, make an effort to learn their language and at least know how to say thank you.