Taking Gifts to China

Clients are always asking me about what gifts to take with them to China. It all depends on the circumstances. Gifts for hosts are different from gifts for guides or for children. A gift for a host family or friends should be useful and fairly inexpensive as your host or friend may be obligated to return the favor with like value. Perhaps something that represents your area and should be something useful rather than decorative. Be careful that it may read somewhere on it that it is ‘Made in China” like so many products these days. For children wrapped candy is good but should be something from your country and not available in China like from the U.S. Tootsie Rolls and fruit Life Savors are well received. For guides or service people, I like to use the new U.S. $1.00 gold colored coins. Gold is symbol of wealth and many Chinese are avid collectors of coins. Otherwise pens, caps with your local baseball or football team emblem on it and other small items are good too. DO NOT give anything that cuts like knives, scissors, razor blades etc. That is a symbol of wanting to cut the relationship off. Do not give any watches or anything that keeps time…..as it is a symbol for a short life. When wrapping it in paper, make sure it is either red or gold paper. Red is the symbol of Good Luck and gold is the symbol of Wealth. Never wrap anything in white paper as it is the symbol for death. Many Chinese are superstitious so it is wise to think of this when purchasing gifts. For more information on travel in China read other blog stories or contact us at interlak@eskimo.com

Tips on Taking Gifts to China

I am often asked what gift or gifts should I take to China for guides, friends etc. I guess it is best to start with What Not to Do first. Chinese people tend to be very superstitious. Never give a gift that cuts anything like a knife, scissors etc. It means you want to sever the relationship. Never give a time piece as it means that the person receiving it has limited time left in this life. Never wrap the gift in white paper or tissue paper as it means Death or funeral. Bright red or bright gold paper is best. Gold means wealth and red means Good Luck. Women when they married traditionally wore a red dress however in the last few years women wanting to have the latest fashions are now wearing white! What does this mean, all you men out there? 🙂 Gifts for guides etc. should be very small gifts perhaps from your home town or country. An expensive gift may cause embarrassment as they will need to give you a gift back in like value which they may not be able to afford but to keep face must give it. If you are going on business or meeting some Chinese friends etc. the book “Encountering the Chinese” A Guide for Americans 2nd Edition by Hu Wenzhong and Cornelius Grove is an excellent book to read before you go. Sometimes hard to find, I keep 25 copies on hand at a cost of $25 including postage if you can not find it. Send a check to Interlake China Tours, Inc. P.O. Box 33652 Seattle, WA. 98133