Letzte Aktualisierung: November 5, 2021

Chinese games of confusion with business cards

By Johnny Erling
Ein Bild von Johnny Erling

Black ink on a red background. That is how Chinese business cards once looked like, back when they were presented by emissaries of the imperial court. Name cards were already used in China thousands of years ago. However, the gesture of handing them over – with both hands – was copied. Nowadays, however, all that is needed to exchange contacts is a tap on the smartphone.

Ever since business people from all over the world are drawn to China – in the wake of Beijing's reform and policy of opening-up – training courses on intercultural behavior to avoid gaffes have been booming. The correct way of handing over business cards is right at the top of the list of etiquette issues at consulting companies. After all, the People's Republic follows ancient traditions. The only truth to this is that business cards were first used in China more than 2,000 years ago, but modern-day name and business cards and how to present or receive them were copied by the Chinese from Europeans and Japanese. Only since the digitalization of business cards has Beijing once again taken the lead.
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