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Business Travel Pointers

Business Protocol

Business travellers to Asia will need to keep in mind the cultural chasm that stretches ahead of them. One false move and you could jeopardise months of groundwork and maybe even the whole deal. In most Asian countries, a lot of essential business is done with bureaucrats and government servants. That means reams and reams of red tape, interminable delays and paper work.
  • The very first thing to never ever forget is not to lose your patience or your temper.
  • Shake hands but refrain from hugging, kissing, winking, patting or making physical contacts with your hosts.
  • Do not point with your finger in China, Taiwan or Japan or sit with your leg crossed and foot pointing forward in Thailand; never ask any personal questions, or probe into the personal lives of Japanese business associates - it’s considered bad manners to do so.
  • Impressions are very important to the Chinese and Japanese, so do not do anything that may cause you or your hosts to lose face.
  • If you are at a restaurant with Taiwanese for company, it’s considered good manners to offer to foot the entire bill- not just part of it.
  • Using influential contacts to get a job done is common in most Asian countries; so don’t turn away middlemen or liaison agents.
  • Even though women are being accepted in the more liberal Asian countries, the same is not true in the Arab world, and women corporate executives may have a tough time.