Business Culture and Etiquette - Doing Business in Hong Kong
The Business Cultures and Etiquette on Doing Business in Hong Kong is like a mixed dish, difficult to tell it is Western Style or Fusion Chinese. In this blog post, we will show you some tips, and practices on how you should be doing business in Hong Kong without breaking a taboo.
To highlight with, there are quite some differences between Hong Kong and Mainland China in terms of Business Culture and Etiquette, Hong Kong is an international city welcoming different business cultures and etiquette, and It would be awkward to apply the cultures and etiquette of China here in Hong Kong.
1) How to Bargain in Hong Kong
Great news for you, most of the time, you don’t need to bargain in Hong Kong. Different from China where bargaining is what you often need to bear in mind before purchasing in most of the business circumstances, and there’s even a guide to teach you the tips of bargaining in China.
The reasons that Rooms for Bargaining and Bargaining Culture in Hong Kong are not so common, because
Hong Kong is a small, densely populated city with a price tag everywhere. Making most of the products and services need to be transparent in pricing, or else, due to high competition (your competitors just next door)
E-commerce and E-shopping are popular in Hong Kong, and we used to check the price online before purchasing - https://www.price.com.hk/ - https://www.hktvmall.com/hktv/en/
Even there are one or two cases of over-pricing, the Consumer Council in Hong Kong is actively dealing with complain about any unfair trade practices in Hong Kong. The council even with a Price Watch platform for the public to check the price of a certain good of major supermarkets
In this business environment, Hong Kong people tend to stick to this culture in doing business and offer a reasonable price at the beginning (Market Price) and reserve a thin room for discount
From below figure of Statistics of Offshore Trade in Goods by the Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong, the gross margin is only about 6% for Hong Kong sellers, which means most of the companies can offer you is about a 3-5% discount in most of the case
Instead of lengthy bargaining, Hongkongers prefer to work for a quick deal (chase for efficiency), with the International Trade Hub status, we make profits through volume
The Practice of bargaining on Doing Business in Hong Kong – If you are really eager to have a discount …
Determine whether after a 5% discount, will you be able to accept
Ask for it at the last minute, show that you are serious in closing the deal and ready to engage
“Just Ask” for the discount, which saves the time for your counterparty
Give a “Good Reason” – most of the time, you are not facing the final boss, a good reason helps the staff to request a deeper discount you, for example, you need to attract the local customers to try the product in order to make a bigger order next time
Usually, with this strategy, you will obtain a final offer, and any further discount negotiation will simply be rejected, even not willing to do business with you in the future
2) What is the communication style of Doing Business in Hong Kong?
We, Hongkongers, are nice, polite and respectful to one another
That means we don’t smile and welcome new friend as you expect
Because Cantonese is our mother tongue, we are more confident in English writing than oral talking, thus, we prefer to communicate in email or Whatsapp
In general, Hong Kong people are helpful and resourceful, because we are under Chinese traditional influence, we tend to respect others rooms, spaces, and privacy
To break the barrier, you can try to open the dialogue by “Nei Hou (你好)”, meaning hello in Cantonese, often, this will surprise your business partner and become more friendly to you