Tips for doing business in Taiwan

Today, we come back with the tips for doing business in Taiwan!! Taiwan is one of the popular countries that many investors want to invest as well as do business with local people. Nevertheless, Taiwan is the country which has long history and has many unique cultures. There are many tips that business person should do and should not do.

Dos

  • Concerning about hierarchy: lower level employees often lack initiative and merely wait for orders and instructions from the boss.
  • Saving face: Taiwanese tend to avoid saying or complaining directly to others. Instead of telling the truth, they tend to
  • Giving gift: Taiwanese believe that gift giving is a necessary tool to build a relationship. Giving gifts to all members involved in a meeting is appropriate. Suggest gifts: Ginseng or stationary.
  • Using red, yellow, or pink for gift wrapping: Taiwanese believe that red, yellow, and pink are good color and bring good luck, so they prefer to use these colors to wrap gifts.
  • Speaking directly to the most senior person in a meeting: Taiwanese respect the most senior person and give an importance to the most senior person; all decisions should be taken with reference to the most senior person. Thus, speak directly to him/her, even if he/she does not be fluent in English.
  • Accepting all invitation to events outside of the normal working environment: Relationship is important for Taiwanese, so they think that joining or hanging out is a good opportunity to build a relationship as well as connect with colleges or clients.
  • Showing a respect at the first meeting: Taiwanese will nod their head or bow to each other to show respect at the first meeting only. In general, they prefer handshake. They will shake hand from the most senior on first. For handshake with Taiwanese women; must wait until Taiwanese women offer the handshake first.
  • Being on time: Taiwanese love to be on time, so business partner should be on time and should arrive the place before appointment time about 5-10 minutes.
  • Respecting and insisting to promises: Taiwanese respect and insist on promises, so foreign investors need to insist and respect promises to Taiwanese.
  • Ask the most senior in a group to make a decision: Taiwanese prefer to ask the most senior person in team to make a decision. It shows the respect to his/her.
  • Be patient with delay answer: Taiwanese do not like to be pressure to give an answer in a limit of time, so foreign should be patient for the delay answer.

DON’Ts

  • Avoid using number 4: Taiwanese believe that number “4” have the same sound as the word “dead” which is a bad word. Thus, foreigner must be avoiding using this number.
  • Do not give an umbrella as a gift: Taiwanese do not give umbrella as a gift to each other since a sound of the word “umbrella” in Chinese is as same as “rupture”.
  • Avoid hastening Taiwanese: Taiwanese do not like business partner to urge them or pressure them to do something. Thus, do not pressure them to do something in limit time.
  • Avoid showing a strong emotion: Taiwanese tend to avoid showing any emotion during the meeting since they believe that is a bad manner, and do not respect others.
  • Do not open gifts in front of giver: Taiwanese do not open gift in front of the giver, they would prefer to open after separate from giver.
  • Do not introduce yourself: Taiwanese do not like business partner to introduce themselves, but they would prefer third party to introduce business partner.
  • Do not use index finger to point anything: Taiwanese people think that pointing with index finger is a rude action. They would prefer to point with open hand.
  • Do not discuss business until hosts bring it up: When Taiwanese hang out or have dinner after work, they do not discuss about business unless hosts bring it up and start to discuss or ask an opinion. However, they do not take it serious during dinner time.
  • Do not pay the bill if you are not the hosts: Taiwanese prefer hosts to pay the bills rather than guest to pay the bill. Guest can offer to pay, but do not insist if the hosts deny.
  • Do not keep bone in your rice plate: Taiwanese prefer to put bone on the table since they think that keeping in their plate is dirty. In general, waiters/waitress will keep bone on table immediately.
  • Do not call others by using upturned finger: Using an upturned finger is very impolite for Taiwanese; they prefer to use downturned finger.
  • Do not leave chopsticks sticking up in the left-over rice: Taiwanese believe that putting chopsticks on the left over rice is the way to offer meal to their ancestors’ ghosts.
  • Avoid giving clock and handkerchief as a gift: Taiwanese believe that watch and clock sound like “to attend a funeral” which is bad thing for Taiwanese. Moreover, handkerchief means wipe any tears. Nonetheless, Taiwanese believe that handkerchief bring them bad luck which is cause for crying. (If you give by accidentally, Taiwanese will give a coin to giver. It will be change from giving gift to be buying stuff automatically.)
Jaraswan Jarasjaruwan or Pear is a full-time MIM student. She got a Bachelor’s of Science from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. After she graduated, she worked as an educational consultant in Thailand for 2 years. Pear chose to study international business at Portland State University because she is interested in the business field and also the reputation of the university. Currently, Pear is studying Chinese as a third language. Also, she will choose Global Marketing as her specialization in the Master of International Management program.
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