guest-host relationship in the hardware industry in China

Today, we’re sharing some tips to help the guest-host relationship in the hardware industry in China flourish.As you know, at IBMH we have lived and dealt with the Chinese market for more than 20 years. This has made us deeply knowledgeable about their culture, their traditions and their way of working.

If you’re interested in doing good business in the hardware industry in this country, besides having us by your side, it’s never a bad idea to learn how you should behave when you are a “guest”here. And be prepared in case there is ever a time when you are host to your partner in China.

Ready to meet your commercial goals? Take note!

What is the guest-host relationship in the hardware industry in China like?

The first thing that needs to be made clear is that things change drastically depending on whether you are in the role of guest or host. If you are a guest…

  • First impressions are important:

The guest-host relationship in the hardware industry in China is no different from any other. Don’t forget the importance of punctuality. Your Chinese partners adhere rigorously to their schedules. Being late is considered by them to be disrespectful, so set your clock correctly and don’t delay.

It’s nice to bring a small gift for your hostsand, if possible, for the little ones in their home. A good idea is to bring something traditional from your home country. They will also really appreciate your bringing some sweets, candies or even a bottle of liquor. Don’t take offense if they don’t open the gift while you are in their presence. Unlike in the west, it’s considered in poor taste to open the package in front of the person giving the gift.

  • The triumphant entry:

Upon entering the house, you should take off your shoes and change into the slippers that your host will offer you. They will also take care of storing all the possessions you won’t be using; for example, your hat, umbrella, coat or bag.

You will have to greet all members of the family, always starting with the eldest of them. In the case of children, you should wait for them to greet you first. To greet, a simple “Ni hao” or “Hello” accompanied by a slight nod is sufficient.

  • The conversation:

Your host will make an effort to keep you entertained throughout your entire stay. You, in turn, should try to keep the conversation flowing naturally. A good idea is to have some questions prepared ahead of your visit. For example, you could ask about local life in China, about festivals or family traditions, etc.

Keep in mind that price is always a favorite topic of conversation for the Chinese. You’ll be right on target if you talk with them about the price of things: house, rent, car, food… Don’t hold back; a conversation like this will instantly interest your host. However! Remember that talking about “prices” does not mean reviewing your negotiations or business relationship. That topic is not appropriate in this context. The guest-host relationship in the hardware industry in China will affect your future negotiation, but you should talk business only at the proper times.

  • At the table:

When they invite you to take a seat, always wait for them to indicate where you should sit. As you may know, in China, slurping is a sign of appreciationand that you are enjoying the meal. If your hosts slurp, you may follow their example.

It is nice to propose a toastto the growth of your business relationship. You can use Chinese phrases like “You Yi Yong” (with eternal friendship) or “He Jia Huan” (may your family always be happy).

  • To finish:

Leisure at home is very popular in China. Despite being people who don’t have an intense social life, they do enjoy themselves thoroughly in a family setting. Most of their celebrations take place at home, so if they invite you to spend a few days there, you should consider it an honor. Show your appreciation!

And if you still want more… soon we’ll share the “rules” that you should remember if you are ever the one playing the part of host to your partner from China.


Knowing the details of the guest-host relationship in the hardware industry in China can be beneficial when it’s time to close a deal. At IBMH, we’re always here to help you improve your business, taking care of your hardware imports from China from start to finish. And always at the best price.