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Business etiquette, language & culture

Overview

English is widely taught in Taiwanese schools, but do not expect everyone to understand you, particularly the older generation. Mandarin is the official language of Taiwan, but Min-nan – the Southern Min dialect, or Holo, from Fujian Province in mainland China – are also widely spoken by some.

Your business cards should be translated into Mandarin, using the traditional Chinese characters (not the simplified ones used in mainland China). As in other Chinese societies, business cards should be given and received with both hands and studied carefully.

The Taiwanese culture is conservative, where Confucian values revere family, hard work, punctuality, tradition and respect of authority and elders. As with mainland China, the sense of ‘face’ (Mien-tzu) is considered paramount, and consequently you should avoid causing public embarrassment and strive to maintain a sense of harmony.

‘Guanxi’ is also very widespread, where connections and relationships – both business and with the wider family and friends – are considered essential to the smooth running and harmony of society.

Smart business attire is the norm, and punctuality is expected. It is good to have a senior official with you, and you should address discussions with the most senior or elderly official present. Wait to be introduced, and then greet the senior official first. Handshakes are the norm, but it is not uncommon to give a slight bow at the same time as a show of respect, although this will not be expected.

As in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) – which you should refer to as mainland China – successful business is about personal relationships and getting to know one another first. This can take many years, so you should show that you expect to be involved with Taiwan for the long-term and not just as a short business trip. You will probably need to visit often and show long-term commitment to Taiwan and your Taiwanese contacts – keep in touch between contracts.

 

Taiwanese public holidays  

2018:

Date:

Holiday:

Wednesday 4th April

Children’s Day

Thursday 5th April

Tomb Sweeping Day

Tuesday 1st May

Labour Day

Monday 18th June

Ng Tuen (Dragon Boat) Festival

Monday 24th September

Mid-Autumn Festival

Wednesday 10th October

National Day Taiwan 


2019:

Date:

Holiday:

Tuesday 1st January

New Year’s Day

Monday 4th February

Chinese New Year begins

Saturday 9th February

Chinese New Year ends

Thursday 28th February

Peace Memorial Day Taiwan

Thursday 4th April

Children’s Day

Friday 5th April

Tomb Sweeping Day

Wednesday 1st May

Labour Day

Friday 7th June

Ng Tuen (Dragon Boat) Festival

Friday 13th September

Mid-Autumn Festival

Thursday 10th October

National Day Taiwan 

(NB – Check for possible date changes nearer the time)


 

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