Southeast Asia has become a popular center for many budding business enterprises, with travelers heading there from all over the world to carry out transactions and secure new business deals. Encompassing many important business strongholds such as China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, business moguls can’t fail to see the draw from this part of the world.
If you’re planning a trip to Southeast Asia, it’s important to bear in mind that the countries in this group may have very different cultural norms and customs to those that you’ve grown used to in your own country. Here are a few ways you can avoid a faux pas when you’re travelling within the communities of Southeast Asia.
Anyone heading to China to conduct business should keep in mind that there are some fairly strict guidelines about what is and is not appropriate business attire. Men should opt for smart suits in neutral colors while women should avoid largely revealing clothing and obviously high heels. When you are in a business meeting, avoid large, showy hand gestures and try your best not to point. If you need to, use an open palm, rather than your index finger.
When it comes to greeting your associates, it is important to use full titles, such as professor or doctor if applicable. After the initial greeting, an exchange of business cards is the norm. In Malaysia, you should have one side of the card printed into Bahasa Malaysia. Malaysians also rely on facial expressions and tone of voice more than the Chinese do, and a short pause following the posture of a question indicates that you’ve given your response proper thought.
Taiwan is relatively young in comparison with Malaysia and China and so tends to promote slightly more informal business gatherings. However, you should still take a senior executive with you, and if a gift is offered, receive it with two hands.
When your business schedule is completed, you may wish to spend some leisure time in and around Southeast Asia. It’s a fascinating part of the world and definitely worth exploring. To get away from it all, you might like to head over to Thailand for an exotic jaunt around this cosmopolitan haven. Phuket is an exciting destination for any traveller, with a lot to offer business executives looking to wind down after a tough deal. As Thailand’s largest island, Phuket buzzes with variety. You might choose to chill out on one of the gorgeous stretches of beach land, indulging in sunbathing and water sports. Or you might like to sample the world renowned nightlife. The choice is yours!