Although Hong Kong is now a part of China as Special Administrative Region(HKSAR), even most of the residents were Chinese. Due to the historical reason, culture difference still exists in our daily lives and business environment.
It is a unique culture existed in state owned enterprise. What all the company work is for the country first, relationship between colleagues are close as a big family. Colleagues are so helpful and care of your feeling. The senior employees will take care the young new comers liked their sons or daughters. For those working in the company for 20-30 years, they will share the happiness of the marriage of their next generations by sending every employee a pack of wedding candies which is the tradition for Chinese. People will also show their consideration for your personal planning, like marriage and pregnancy.
The most important issue for doing business with Chinese is to establish the relationship. Business transactions based on a trusting relationship built. Relationship works well in job opportunities, it is not surprised to find in the company that some of the colleagues worked for the company for three generations from grandfather to grandson.
Business dinners and Entertainments
Business dinners and after dinner entertainment are an expected part of building relationship. Don’ t finish all your food on the plate, always leave some food to show you are full, as finishing everything on the plate will cause your host to assume you love the food he/she served and you are still want to have some more . This kind of dinners and entertainments are lengthy affairs. They will have normal rundown for the dinners, usually the top managements of company, sometimes with clients, according to their title, to give a speech. Employees clapped hands to show their supporting, then the managements will make a toast to all the people. Drinking and toasting in the feasts is common.
Bosses of different companies and department will come to your table toasting with you. You should immediately react to this and make a toast to your bosses to show your respect to him /her. Otherwise, the bosses will consider you do not “give” face to him. You also need to find a right time to go to the bosses’ tables to return your bosses a toasting.
Greeting to your boss
When you meet your superior in the office inside or outside the office building, you always need to address them formally with their title, if he or she is a manager with surname Chen, you must say “Chen Zong” means Manager Chen, instead of calling their English names or first names directly. If you call the managers directly by their names , this is not considered as good manner and they will think this is very impolite and do not respect them. In China, only childhood/ closed friends and spouses call each other by their first names.
Compared to my past working experiences with German and Hong Kong companies, we always call our superior, even the CEO of the company in their English names or given names directly without the title, it needed a certain period of time to adapt with this greeting for those not brought in traditional Chinese culture. In general, Chinese colleagues will not address Miss and Mr. for a lady and gentlemen respectively, they will call sister and brother. However, young Chinese superiors are more open minded now and accept those equal footing addressing by their subordinates.
Cantonese vs Mandarin
Official and communication language of the company are Mandarin, Hong Kong employees could speak both Mandarin and Cantonese, but sometimes Mandarin with different accents lead to misunderstanding and jokes. Mandarin of Hong Kong people improved by close relationship with Mainland China and official language of HKSAR is bi-literacy and tri-lingualism (Cantonese, English and Mandarin), students will start learning Mandarin as early as they can due to the closer relationship with China.
Due to the cooperate culture, new comers to the company could not adapt well with these kind of the cultures. Especially not brought up in China and the Mandarin is not a the first language create a high turnover rate. Chinese company based in Hong Kong are trend to employ returned talents after studying overseas with strong professional and language skills as well as mother language is Mandarin.
Chinese could not have an access on Facebook and Youtube in China. Instead of using Facebook, Chinese are using WeChat for the same function. Until my Chinese colleagues telling me about Wechat, I have no knowledge on WeChat. Now, most of the Hong Kong people use both Facebook and Wechat. Chinese could use Facebook via downloading some useful apps.
All of the above are my personal observations during years of working with Chinese. Experiences are staying with traditional Chinese and it might not be the same for the new generations.