How to Address a Chinese Businesswoman

by Laura Scott; Updated September 26, 2017
Businesswoman in Back Seat of Car on the Phone

Chinese law grants women equal rights in all aspects of public life, including business. Chinese women have risen to positions of power in the corporate world, and many have launched highly successful businesses. Doing business in China means working with Chinese women, and a knowledge of the basic rules of business etiquette is a prerequisite.

Step 1

Address a Chinese businesswoman as Miss, Mrs. or Madam and her surname. In Chinese culture, surnames are used first, followed by given names. Betsy Ross would be Ross Betsy in China. In an exchange with a businesswoman, Miss or Mrs. is an accepted formality. First names, a sign of familiarity, are not used.

Step 2

Use all appropriate titles. Chinese culture reveres rank and seniority, and titles are signs of respect. Titles follow a surname, so the form would be Miss Ross, seamstress.

Step 3

Follow the lead of a Chinese businesswoman for gestures and eye contact. The Chinese have a complex system of non-verbal communication. Facial expressions, gestures and eye contact have significant meanings that are changing. Eye contact can mean trustworthiness to some Chinese women, aggression to others. If a woman avoids eye contact and shows little emotion, behave the same way.

Step 4

Wait to be invited to shake hands. In Western business cultures, handshakes, hugs and pats on the back are cordial gestures. In China, physical contact is much more reserved. If a woman extends her hand, shake it gently. In China, a limp handshake is viewed as a sign of humility and respect.

Step 5

Exchange business cards. Chinese businessmen and women value business cards. Western visitors should use cards with English on one side and a Chinese translation on the other. Present the card using both hands, with the Chinese translation facing outward.

About the Author

Laura Scott has been reporting for Gatehouse Media New England, Essex County Newspapers and other regional publishers since 1997. She won several New England Press Association awards for her coverage of the fishing industry and coastal communities. Scott is a graduate of Vassar College and has a master's degree in American studies from Boston College. She also attended art school in Italy.

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