A few weeks ago, one of our clients asked us to source and produce “high-end gifts” for their Chinese investors. Though this task may seem easy at first, this ended up being quite challenging — especially since some of the investors are Chinese dignitaries. After scouring the Internet for hours on end, I thought to myself, “it would be great if someone wrote a blog post about high-end gift ideas for Chinese business relations.” Since I was unable to find anything of the sort, I thought it would be nice to post some of our ideas, and hopefully this post will save someone hours of research.
At the onset, we had to ask ourselves, “what would be a good gift for a Chinese investor?” So we did some research about Chinese gift giving traditions and learned there are many cultural nuances that must be adhered to. As an example, you should avoid giving scissors or knives as they symbolize breaking a relationship. These nuances not only added a degree of difficulty to our search, but they gave us some insight into the Chinese culture and the importance of a meaningful gift.
As far as our budget was concerned, we were asked to look for gifts in the $500 – $750 range. Needless to say, these gifts could not be ordinary business gifts, like expensive pens or stationary — these had to be extraordinary. So, here my favorite options that we came up with:
1. Giuseppe Armani – Peacock Figurine
The peacock is a Chinese symbol of beauty and dignity, as well as the desire for peace and prosperity. This figurine is also symbolic of our client, due to the fact that wild peacocks that are native in clients’ geographical region. This was my favorite gift option because of the symbology of the peacock and the relevance it had for our client.
2. Fine Cognac
When doing our research, we discovered that fine liquors are great gifts for business relations. As they can be a symbol of class, expensive liquors are prized are often placed on display in the home. Plus, who wouldn’t want a nice bottle of Remy Martin?
3. Custom Humidor with Fine Regional Cigars
Since our client is located in a tropical region, there are very many fine, local cigars. Our thought was to give cigars in a custom engraved humidor. This would be a great gift and would offer a lasting treasure for the investors to keep and enjoy.
We learned that if someone starts a business, it is customary to give them a bamboo flower or “shui zhu” as a gift. If you look at a bamboo plant, you will notice many the many rings that form on the stem. This gift is symbolic, and signifies continual growth and income. Our thought was to capture this symbolism by giving the investors a crystal bamboo bud vase with bamboo flowers.
As you may notice, the gifts listed above are very different. To us, the most important characteristics were: (1) how relevant the gift would to the client, and (2) how well the gift would represent the relationship between the client and the investors.
If you found this post helpful or if you have any other great gift ideas for Chinese dignitaries, please post a comment — I’d love to hear from you.