When you go to China for an important business meeting it helps to know a little about Chinese business culture and how to act and appear during the meeting.
Arrival & Greeting
I China it's important to be on time, as not doing so might insult the hosts (although you might be forgiven if the traffic is exceptionally bad). If you arrive in a group, the most senior member should be the first to enter. A slight bow is a common greeting but a simple handshake is also accepted. You might be greeted with applause and should in such cases reciprocate.
Avoid: Kissing anyone on the cheek.
Present your business card immediately upon meeting your Chinese hosts. Business cards are often exchanged so make sure you bring plenty and that your title is printed on the card. When you hand over the card or receive the card, take it with both hands and make sure that your information is facing upwards when handing over the card. Whenever you receive a business card, make sure to take a moment to study it before putting it down in your pocket or preferably on the table in front of you.
Avoid: To receive or hand over business cards with one hand and putting them straight into your pocket without looking at them, and having your own business cards in the back pocket. Also make sure to not take notes on anyones business card whenever that person is present.
Clothes for men: Dress in a suit in conservative color choices,
Avoid: Colorful ties, gray suit and jeans.
Women: A formal dress is preferable.
Avoid: revealing clothing is deemed innapropriate at a business meeting.
Gifts used to be a must during business meetings but are currently under scrutiny after Chinese President Xi Jinpings crackdown on corruption in China. Modest gifts unique to your home country or region is still very much appreciated; fred wrapping is preferable. In China it's common to refuse the gift many times before finally accepting it.
Avoid: Clocks (represents death), and gifts in sets of 4 that also represents death.
During the meeting
Chinese people rarely get straight to the point but rather spend some time chit-chatting first. Once the meeting started, it's considered rude to interrupt anyone. You should not single out any one person's misstakes either as that will make him or her loose face. In general, Chinese people appreciate moderation in how you speak and in your body language.
Avoid: Strong gestures, pointing at anyone or patting anyone on the shoulder.