Make Every First Impression Count In China, Easy-To Use Fail-Safe Chinese Phrases (Part 2, Sorry And Thank You)

Author xlxmarketing 19.3.2009. | 16:56

So after breaking the ice by saying hello in Chinese correctly how do you keep the negotiation ticking over smoothly?

There are two main things to remember:

  • You get more with honey than you do with vinegar
  • The behavour you see on the street won’t be accepted (or displayed) in the meeting room.

You Get More With Honey Than You Do With Vinegar


When doing business in China, as anywhere else, the best deals are negotiated between equals.

So going into a negotiation with a superior attitude isn’t going to get a better deal, nor is it going to make you any friends. That doesn’t mean you should take everything that is given either but you will have to find a balance.

The best way to respect them as equals is to be polite and show interest in them. A good way to do that is to know courtesy words in Chinese and use it during the conversation.

A foreigner that makes the effort to speak a bit of Chinese during the business conversation will usually build a warmer negotiation atmosphere between them and their Chinese partner than one that doesn’t.

You won’t see the behavior of the street in the conference room


In the west there is less of a difference between the way we act on the street and how we act in a negotiation. Basically, what you see is what you get.

This isn’t so in China, with people varying their responses, and use of pleasantries, depending on the location they are in.

When in public, for example, the average person in China is likely to say say Ni xin ku le (thank you for your you effort) or express their thanks with a smile and a nod but in a meeting is more likely to use the term xie xie.

And, between close friends and family xie xie is not used that commonly at all because it may imply a certain distance between the addresser and the addressee.

In business you will be able to use ‘“Xiexie”since it is better to keep a distance in a negotiation.

But without further ado here are some simple phrases to impress your potential Chinese buisiness partner with.


Chinese Courtesy Phrases


  • Thank You
  • Sorry
  • You’re welcome
  • It doesn’t matter
  • No problem



Understanding the way pinyin ( is pronounced is a help.

As is knowing how each of the four tones – / v work, especially if you would like to learn more Chinese in the future.

Mastering these five phrases is the first step towards understanding more about the rich Chinese culture and a big foot in the door when it comes to making a good impression on your next sourcing mission.

Watch our YouTube video above and learn thes five phrases and you will be on your way to learning Chinese that you can use on your next sourcing trip. And don’t forget to check out the first lesson Chinese phrases for hello and goodbye.

Useful Chinese learning resources


  • Chinese for
  • Sinosplice language

Author xlxmarketing 19.3.2009. | 16:56
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