One of the oldest civilizations in the world, China is spread over a large area in East Asia. The Chinese Civil War which ended in 1949 led to national independence and the liberation of the people. China is officially called People's Republic of China.
- Capital: Beijing
- Population: Most populated country in the world
- Language: Mandarin or Putonghua (meaning 'the common speech')
- Religion: Officially atheist. But respects religious freedom. Major religions - Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism
- Time zone: GMT +8
- Currency: Renminbi (CNY). The units of currency are yuan, jiao (also called 'mao') and fen. 1 yuan = 10 jiao = 100 fen
Places of importance and interest
- Imperial Palace: Also known as the Forbidden City, it was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987. UNESCO has listed it as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.
- Leshan Giant Buddha: Located in the Sichuan province, it is the world's largest carved stone Buddha. It is 233 feet (71 metres) tall.
- Xi’an: It is one of the four ancient capitals of China and is home to the Terracota Army – terracota figures of warriors, chariots, horses, officials etc. As per current estimates, there are over 8000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses.
- Oriental Pearl TV Tower: It is located in Shanghai - the largest city in China. With a height of 468 meters, it offers a panoramic view of the city and is one of the highest towers in Asia.
- West Lake: It is a famous fresh water lake located in the historic center of Hangzhou, in Zhejiang province of eastern China. Apart from having a picturesque landscape, it is also associated with many scholars, national heroes and revolutionary martyrs, thus offering a glimpse of several aspects of Chinese culture
Did you know?
The red color of the flag of the People's Republic of China symbolizes revolution and the five stars signify the unity of the people of China under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.
The Tian'anmen Square in Beijing is the largest square in the world covering an area of 40 hectares. The grand gate of Tiananmen Gate (Heavenly Peace Gate) is a national symbol.
Punctuality in arriving for meetings is essential. Being late is considered an insult. Most Chinese will arrive a few minutes early for a meeting.
Business cards are exchanged upon meeting. Ensure that one side of the business card is in English, while the other is in Chinese, preferably the local dialect. Mention your designation (especially if you are senior) on the cards. In Chinese business culture, the main objective of exchanging cards is to identify the key decision – makers.
The Chinese are generally soft spoken. Avoid interrupting periods of silences which are common during meetings.
Shake hands with all those present. The more important the person, the longer the handshake lasts.
Dress conservatively.Business suits (for both men and women) would be suitable. Avoid wearing bright colors. Women should avoid wearing high heels: they are usually worn to formal receptions.
Did you know?
The most senior person in a business delegation enters a meeting room first. The Chinese may assume that the first person entering the room is the leader of your delegation.
Saying 'No' is often considered impolite. It would be safer to say 'Maybe' or 'We will think about it' and focus on the specifics later.
The Chinese economy is the third largest in the world with $3.42 trillion of nominal GDP. It has avoided the worst effects of the global downturn this year. Now the Chinese government is trying to increase the competitiveness of ten key industries. These include steel, automotive, shipbuilding, chemical, light industry, textiles, nonferrous metals, equipment manufacturing, electronic information and modern logistics.
In the People's Republic of China , the President is the Head of State and is the supreme representative of China both internally and externally. The State presidency is a part of China's State organization and an independent State apparatus.
The National People's Congress (NPC) , with a term of five years, is the highest organ of state power. The State Council of the People's Republic of China, also called the Central People's Government, is the highest executive organ of State power, as well as the highest organ of State administration.
The Central Military Commission commands the entire armed forces of the country and is the highest military organ. The Commission, consisting of a Chairman, vice-Chairmen and other members, is appointed for a period of five years and has the right to stand for re-election.
The Supreme People's Court is the highest organ of the judiciary and reports to the NPC. It has independent trial rights.
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Did you know?
The Chinese economy is the largest economy in emerging East Asia.
Chinese festivals take place according to the lunar calendar. The most important festival is the Chinese New Year, also known as The Spring Festival. It is believed that if you write the character for luck upside down at this time, luck “arrives”. It is a custom for parents to give children money in red envelopes. Other major festivals are 'The Festival of Youth', 'The Dragon Boat festival' and 'The Mid-autumn or Autumn Moon Festival'.
Physical fitness is given great importance in China. Popular sports include badminton, table tennis, martial arts etc. Traditional sports such as Dragon boat racing can be seen during the Dan Wu festival.
Did you know?
The compass, gunpowder, printing and paper making are regarded as the four great inventions of Ancient China.
Given the large distances among cities, flying may be the quickest option. National flights are regulated
by Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). Apart from this, cities are well connected by ferry, bus and train. Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing have metro stations. Taxis,too, can be found in most cities.
It would be useful to buy a pre-paid card which can be used on all types of public transport.
China also has an extensive road network. However, foreigners are advised not to drive until they familiarize themselves with the local traffic rules.
Did you know?
China is the fourth largest country in the world
Weather in China varies greatly. The north has extreme summers and winters whereas central China has a comparatively milder climate. Southeastern China has a subtropical climate.
Chinese cuisine consists of a wide variety of meat and vegetables. Most Chinese preparations have bite-sized pieces that can be easily picked with chopsticks.
Chopsticks are used for all meals. Tapping your chopsticks on the table, plate, bowl or turning food around with them is considered very rude. Once you finish eating, place your chopsticks neatly on the table or on the chopstick rest. Chopsticks should not be used to point at things or people.
Tea is commonly drunk at all meals. In fact, tea is said to have been discovered in China. Green tea is considered the most popular type of tea from among the various types found there. A tea drinking ritual, 'yum-cha', is considered an important part of business entertainment and is often a means to build rapport.
Chinese food is so popular today that local varieties have emerged – American Chinese, Indian Chinese and so on.
Culture & Traditions
The Chinese culture is considered to be one of the oldest cultures in the world. Some of the oldest written Chinese music can be traced back to Confucius's time while Porcelain pottery which originated in China is said to be one of the first art forms of the Paleolithic period (I.e more than 11000 years old).China is also considered to be one of the birthplaces of Eastern martial arts – the popular Kung fu.
The Chinese rarely invite guests over. Hence, it is an honour to be invited. Ensure that you reach your host's house on time and are carrying a small gift. Flowers, chocolates and fruits are safe gifts. Never give a clock as a present since the word for clock in Chinese sounds similar to the word for 'end of life'. Also since colours have connotations attached to them, it is best to get your gift wrapped at a local store.
Did you know?
The Chinese ask 'Have you eaten?' instead of 'How are you?'. It is not meant literally and hence, the appropriate response would be 'yes' even if one has not eaten. One can even smile and say 'Thank you'.
It is considered bad manners to finish all the food on your plate. Leave some food on your plate during each course of a meal to honor the generosity of your host.
The number 8 is considered lucky because its pronunciation is similar to “prosperity” ; so is “6” as its pronunciation is similar to “all goes successfully”.