The art of gift giving in China

Allan K K CHAN*, Luther Trey Denton, Alex S L TSANG

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    48 Citations (Scopus)


    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)47-52
    Number of pages6
    JournalBusiness Horizons
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2003

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Business and International Management
    • Marketing


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