Asian and Western Cultures in Corporate Gifts

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Asian and Western Cultures in Corporate Gifts

In a country like Singapore, globalisation is practically part of our nature. Not only are we brought up to live peacefully with people of other races & religions; we subconsciously take on their cultures as well.

However when it comes to giving corporate gifts, you have to be mindful of some basic factors when giving to people of other cultures from foreign countries. Some corporations are from another country; whilst some have branches in other countries- they all have their unique form of culture.

Here are some guidelines that you can line your selection of corporate gifts by:

Asians Often Have Meanings Associated With Gifts; Make Sure They’re Positive Ones

For the longest time in history, Asians have somehow assigned definitions of intentions based on gifts. For example, sending a clock means wishing them death.

As much as sometimes it might be an honest mistake- it will make your gift look less sincere. It shows that you did not care enough to choose appropriate gifts for them, nor do you respect their culture.

Here’s a little tip: Asians often appreciate dragons as they are supposed to bear good fortune, but the Westerners often associate them with darkness.

Westerners Appreciate More Practical Gifts

Unlike the Asians, Westerners usually do not appreciate gifts just “for the sake of receiving them”. Gifts ought to bear some sort of use and purpose, and not be just a white elephant to them.

If you were to present a gift purely for decorative purposes, studies have shown that Asians tend to appreciate them a lot more than the Westerners. Whilst Westerners tend to fancy gifts that bear meaning and will trigger some sort of thought, memory or at least be of some use.

Asians Build Relations Well-Based On Gifts

Some regard this as “lobbying”, but giving gifts even before any official business is conducted is actually quite a norm for Asians. Asians see it as a way of showing their sincerity in establishing a partnership or connection; and using corporate gifts often as forms to expressing it.

Gift giving is highly regarded in the Asian community and is hardly deemed as a surprise. In fact, it is something that they regard as only natural. Therefore not giving gifts will have the opposite effect; the receiver (or non-receiver, in this case) would feel like you do not care enough to express your regard for business relations.

…Whilst Westerners Regard Gifts More As Forms Of Appreciation

Unlike the Asians, Westerners often see corporate gifts as forms of strengthening business relations- but it is should not be the foundation of it.

Usually gifts are given to celebrate a smooth and most probably profitable business deal that just went through. Those corporate gifts are seen as a pat on the back for all the hard work and an enforcement of business relations- much unlike the Asians which can base business relations on gifts.