One of the most common topics our guides are questioned on while they are on trips is etiquette. While a friendly smile and a xie xie (thank you in Mandarin) go a long way, it’s always nice to have an idea about basic etiquette while you’re traveling through China.
Generally speaking, tipping waitstaff, taxi drivers, and other service people is not done. Foreign restaurants (especially those in hotels) will often include a 10-20% “Service Charge” on the bill, although this varies widely. The only people commonly given tips are tour guides and private drivers. Of course, tips depend on service, but guides are often tipped about 100 RMB/day for a group of two, with drivers receiving about 50 RMB/day.
- Exchanging Business Cards
Business cards should be handed out with both hands, with your name facing the person you are giving your card to. As a sign of respect to your new friend, you should read their card and then tuck it away safely somewhere (as opposed to just stuffing it in your back pocket).
When toasting in China, it’s polite to clink your glass below the rim of the other person’s, also as a sign of respect. You’ll read a lot about drinking and toasting at Chinese banquets, but in my experience, unless you are conducting business this is not usually an issue.
When finishing a meal, especially at local family’s house, it is polite to leave some food on your plate. This indicates that your host has been generous in sharing their food, and that you are full and could not finish all of the food they provided.
Have questions about China do’s and don’ts? Think we left out a valuable Chinese etiquette rule? Let us know in the comments below.