Title

The Art of Gift Giving: Ethically Cultivating Business Relationships in China

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2003

Publication Title

Business Horizons

DOI

10.1016/S0007-6813(03)00051-X

Abstract

Ethically cultivating business relationships in China is an art, fraught with cultural meaning, and Western marketers need practical recommendations to help them grasp the process of gift giving as part of it. Incorporating four indigenous Chinese values, gift giving is a signifier of renqing (appropriate emotion), a demonstration of li (social courtesy), a practice of bestowing mianzi (respect) and lian (dignity), and a process of bao (reciprocity) and guanxi (relationship building). Understanding the symbolic meanings behind giving gifts in the Chinese culture provides an advantage for Western marketers in reducing the time needed to develop mutual understanding for building trust.

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