How to Speak Business Chinese Professionally: 12 Essential Phrases for Social Business

Socializing can be a challenge, especially in a Chinese business setting!

It’s evident that there’s an ongoing increasing number of international businesses and entrepreneurs looking to work with Chinese corporations, while more and more working professionals are seeking to work in China.

So, whether you want to be more involved and engaged in a business conversation, or to show your sincerity and enthusiasm in working with Chinese, it’s essential to know a few business conversational phrases.

Here, we have selected 12 phrases to help you make the most of your Chinese business socialization.

Initial Greeting

很高兴能跟您会面hěn gāo xìng néng gēn nín huì miàn!: Very happy to be to meet you!

With the use of 您(nín), instead of 你(nǐ) to address ‘you’, it shows your respect to the person. This phrase is similar to 很高兴能跟您见面 (hěn gāo xìng néng gēn nín jiàn miàn), however, 会面(huì miàn) has a more formal sounding than 见面(jiàn miàn). While both mean meet, 会面(huì miàn) is more suitable for a business event.

怎么称呼zěn me chēng hū?:How should I address you?

In a business social environment, you may meet new people for the first time, and may want to ask about their names. 称呼(chēng hū) suggests ‘to address’, so the expression, comparing to the casual way你叫什么名字(nǐ jiào shén me míng zì - what’s your name)?, gives a more appropriate and polite impression.

幸会,幸会xìng huì, xìng huì!:Very pleased to meet you!

It’s a very polite saying, and幸会(xìng huì) means ‘meet’, and it implies the honor to be able to meet a person. Usually, 幸会(xìng huì) is said twice, which doubles up the sense of honor and pleasure.

这是我的名片,以后请多多关照zhè shì wǒ de míng piàn, yǐ hòu qǐng duō duō guān zhào!:This is my business card, I’d like to have your guidance in future.

After getting to know each other, the next thing to do is normally exchanging business cards, right? 多(duō) means ‘much’, and关照(guān zhào) literally means ‘to look after’, therefore以后请多多关照(yǐ hòu qǐng duō duō guān zhào) is an extremely humble way to express your great willingness to learn from the opposite party and take their guidance.

Small Talk

您一路上还顺利吗nín yí lù shang hái shùn lì ma?:Did you have a smooth journey to here?

To open up a new conversation, you might like to start with something safe. 一路上(yí lù shang) equals to ‘on the way’, and 顺利(shùn lì) refers to ‘smooth’. Asking您一路上还顺利吗(nín yí lù shang hái shùn lì ma) emphasizes your care and consideration, which is especially a nice phrase to use within business environments.

非常感谢您们的招待,您们安排得太周到了fēi cháng gǎn xiè nín men de zhāo dài, nín men ān pái dé tài zhōu dào le!:I’m very grateful for your warm reception, your arrangement is so thoughtful!

In the event of attending a business social activity, you may want so show your apprecation towards the host’s cooridnination, while complimenting their effort. 感谢(gǎn xiè) means ‘thankful’, while 周到(zhōu dào) is often used to describe an event thoughtfully organized.

您们刚才已经吃过饭了吗nín men gāng cái yǐ jīng chī guò fàn le ma?:Have you already eaten yet?

This time, you’re probably attending a business meeting. Before the formal meeting starts, there’s always some chit-chat period. So what kind of relaxing topic you may consider to talk about? Eat! Eating and drinking is highly important feature of Chinese culture, so asking您们刚才已经吃过饭了吗(nín men gāng cái yǐ jīng chī guò fàn le ma)?, is a standard and polite way to greet people, and can never go wrong!

这礼物是我们的一点儿心意,希望贵公司喜欢zhè lǐ wù shì wǒ men de yì diǎnr xīn yì, xī wàng guì gōng sī xǐ huān。:This little gift is a token of our regard, hope you’d like it.

In Chinese culture, giving gifts to your business partners or clients is often a manner to show your respect, gratitude and hospitality. This reciprocity practice within business settings is considered to be a traditional way to build and maintain relationships.

As such, by the end of meeting, you can give out your gift, and express your kind intention. 心意(xīn yì) refers to ‘kind intention’, and贵公司(guì gōng sī) means ‘your company’, but in a highly respected way.

Maintain Relationships

很高兴能有机会和您们合作hěn gāo xìng néng yǒu jī huì hé nín men hé zuò。:Very pleased to have the opportunity to cooperate with you.

This phrase is particularly suitable when doing business with Chinese. After having reached a business deal, you can finally express your pleasure towards this valued opportunity. 机会(jī huì) means ‘opportunity’, and 合作(hé zuò) means ‘cooperate or cooperation’.

希望我们合作愉快xī wàng wǒ men hé zuò yú kuài!:Hope we’ll have a happy cooperation!

Alternatively, you can also say you’re looking forward to a happy cooperation together! 愉快means ‘happy’.

When saying希望我们合作愉快(xī wàng wǒ men hé zuò yú kuài), it’s usual both parties would shake hands, as an act to show encouragement.

我们保持联系wǒ men bǎo chí lián xì!:Keep in touch!

Now that the business event is over, and you’d like to keep in touch in future. As widely recognized, maintaining relationships is vital to doing businesses in China. 保持(bǎo chí) means ‘to maintain’, and 联系(lián xì) means ‘to contact’.

以后有什么问题,可以随时和我联系yǐ hòu yǒu shén me wèn tí, kě yǐ suí shí hé wǒ lián xì。Contact me anytime, if there’s any question in future.

Other than saying ‘keep in touch’, you can also show extra coutesy by welcoming any possible questions in future. This is perceived as a standard and decent way to end a formal conversation. 问题(wèn tí) means ‘questions or problems’, and 随时(suí shí) means ‘anytime’.

Practice the below 12 phrases with us:



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