Hong Kong is a bustling metropolis where global businesses thrive.
Because business travelers like you play a part in helping to make it happen, we’ve put together some of our favorite travel observations and insights to make your business and leisure travel there a little more memorable. Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned road warrior, let us show you the way.

Top Even the most seasoned of business travelers can benefit from trip planning.

3:15 am | Asia

Time for business

The world of business today is global. And although many business customs are standard no matter where opportunity brings you, being successful in Asia requires familiarity with certain unique sensibilities. Additionally, when you’re far from home, it pays to plan out important details in advance. The following are some tips we think will be of value to any business traveler.

Staying well abroad

You’ve planned your trip with business in mind but an unforeseen event like an illness or injury can quickly put a damper on things. Where will you seek treatment? How can you ensure it will be covered by your healthcare provider? Having business travel insurance can help. In addition to protecting you in case of lost or stolen personal items, it can also cover emergency health issues. Sign up in advance of travel with a carrier who has international coverage.

Seek comfort

Because travel can be tiring, you’ll need comfortable places in airports to relax. Downloading the LoungeBuddy app can help you locate, review and access airport lounges all over the world. And if you’re not a member of our Marco Polo Club loyalty program, consider signing up. It’s a great way to always have a secure and comfortable place ready for you to utilize wherever you are.

Book hotels wisely

In Asia, where cities tend to be a little denser, hotel room sizes can be humble. Many room sizes are listed in square meters, so do the math in advance to figure out if the space is right for you. It’s important to check out your hotel and its surroundings before you visit, even if you’re not the one taking care of the travel arrangements. It can help you better know the location and what transportation options are accessible from it, as well as any surrounding amenities.

Stay connected

In Asia, Wi-Fi may not be readily available where you’re staying. Consider renting a mobile hotspot. It will allow you to connect multiple devices at once and stay connected to the things that matter to you.

In addition to the basics mentioned above, there’s another side to doing business in Hong Kong and beyond: navigating a different cultural landscape. Understanding the following tips will be of use as you look to improve your business relationships.

Top Avoid being too casual. Most business dealings veer decidedly conservative.

Conducting successful business in Asia: A few tips.

Beyond the basics mentioned above, there’s another side to doing business in Hong Kong and beyond: navigating a different cultural landscape. Understanding the following tips will be of use as you look to improve your business relationships.

Cultivating Guanxi

“Guanxi,” as it is known in Chinese, is a bond of trust between two individuals. Nurtured through deeds over time, it helps to facilitate better business relationships. Spending time with a client or associate outside of work is a great way to build it.

Understanding tipping

In the Western world, giving gratuities for good service is a common behavior. However, in many Asian countries, there are places where tipping is actually prohibited. Additionally, the amount that is traditionally accepted for a tip can vary greatly. Make sure to do a little research before you travel.

Dining etiquette

Dining with chopsticks is a common practice in many Asian countries but there are a few “watch outs” you should consider before sitting down for a meal. Avoid having your chopsticks stand up in your food bowl; this is thought to bring bad luck since it resembles food offerings to deceased ancestors. Make an effort to use chopsticks, but know that it’s socially acceptable to ask for a more familiar utensil such as a fork, spoon or knife if you’re more comfortable with them.

Business card exchange

In Asia, business cards are given tremendous respect almost everywhere. If your travels take you through Hong Kong and beyond, it’s essential to understand the nuances each region prefers. For instance, in Japan, this ceremonial exchange, or “meishi,” is done by presenting your business card with both hands, holding the top corners. It’s the same rules for accepting a card: Do it with two hands and remember to carefully read the card before putting it away.

Respect Chinese superstitions

Although they may not play as dominant a role in Western societies, in Asia, superstitions are not something to be dismissed. In Chinese culture, superstitions are held in very important regard. A simple one to avoid is the number four. In Chinese, it rhymes with “death” or “failure.” So if your meeting is on April 4 at 4 pm, it’d be wise to reschedule. Seek out more prosperous numbers like three and eight instead.

Avoid being too casual

Being formal is normal in Asia. Unless you’re childhood friends or a spouse, avoid calling your Asian business associates by their first names. Be sure to study up on the proper honorific titles for that country—for example, mixing up a “-chan” with a “-kun” in Japan could make for an awkward meeting.

Whether you’re a seasoned jetsetter or a first-time visitor, knowing and appreciating the cultural landscape of Asia is a quintessential step toward finding business success. We hope you find our suggestions useful and wish you great success in all your professional endeavors.

For a more complete experience and to read all the adventures, download our free interactive eBook, “Life Well Travelled Hong Kong“

Explore each of the tiles below to read the full narratives from our travelers
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