Eight days, three office visits and two tax conferences. I met tax professionals from all over Asia and the Pacific Rim, and delivered a National Geographic Map of the World — that world that got quite a bit smaller over those 8 days in Asia– to colleagues who are now a lot more than an e-mail address or a name in a directory.
Gift giving is an essential part of business in China. You should obey the rules to make certain you don’t offend. The value of a gift can be tricky business — a lavish present could cause embarrassment. Also, don’t give sets of four, because the number is considered unlucky. Senior people must always be given gifts that are perceived to have a higher value than those given to junior staffers. Offer gifts, one at a time, to recipients with both hands, but don’t expect them to be opened in your presence.
Avoid overtly extravagant gifts that could embarrass or negatively affect your business dealings. Specifically, skip gifts known to be associated with death, like clocks, knives and scissors. At first blush, a fine writing instrument may seem an ideal present, but if it contains red ink, you’ll offend the person you’re trying to win over. Presents must be gift-wrapped when presented to business associates in China, and the color of the wrap is another deal breaker. Red is a lucky color. Avoid black, white and blue paper, as these colors are also associated with death.
Before the HLB International Tax Committee departed on our recently completed China Tour, we had lengthy discussions as to what gift to present at these meetings — something big enough to be meaningful, but not overly large or ostentatious. I have to say, we made a very good choice and the pictures below turned out quite nicely. . .
1. HLB Candor, Taiwan. Presented to Rex Lai at the 2012 HLB Asia/Pacific Rim Regional Conference
2. HLB Hodgson Impey Cheng. Presented to Raymond Cheng and Jonathan Lai in Hong Kong.
3. HLB World Sound (Wu Zhou Song De. Presented to Jessie Jessica and Linda in Shenzhen, China
4. HLB Baicheng Tax Consulting Service. Presented to Ziyong Zhu and Ada Gau in Jinan, China.