Tips for Business Travelers in Australia |

If traveling to Australia on business, you’ll find a fairly informal working culture in which there are few strict rules of etiquette. However, it will help to be aware of the following:

You should make advance appointments for meetings and turn up on time; punctuality is valued and expected of visitors, although the hosts may be more relaxed about their own timekeeping.

Avoid visiting from December to February, when many business people take an extended break. Normal office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, but earlier starts and breakfast meetings are increasingly common. Business negotiations may also be conducted informally over evening drinks.

Business attire for meetings is quite conservative, although this varies. In general, a dark suit and tie are the norm for men, and suits or skirts and blouses for women. Clothing is more casual in the summer and in tropical parts of the country.

It is customary to shake hands on meeting business contacts, and to exchange business cards. Meetings are fairly informal, and first names are used following the initial introductions. A little initial small talk is common, but avoid controversial topics like immigration and aboriginal rights.

Australians are not impressed with status or self-importance, so you shouldn’t flaunt or brag about your own or your company’s achievements. Direct communication styles are respected, and presentations should be straightforward and honest. Aggressive negotiating or selling techniques should not be used.

Australians enjoy lively debate and discussions, so don’t be afraid to express your opinions. Good natured humor and teasing is commonly used in meetings and presentations. It is common for people at different levels of the organisation to be consulted before business decisions are made, which may delay the process.

Gift giving is not common in Australian business practice, but a small gift will be appreciated if you are invited to someone’s home.

China Business Travel |

According to the American Express Business Travel’s second survey of corporate travel management service in China, the country will become the world’s third-largest market for corporate travel within five years. The survey shows that the spending on international business travel by China approximates US$4.2 billion a year, which is 17 percent of the Asian market for business travel. This figure, in addition to the spending on the domestic business travel in China, adds up to almost US$20 billion.

The healthy growth of China’s GDP is likely to secure a two-digit rise in China’s business travel market in a few years. It is estimated that by the year 2020, the number of Chinese business travellers will be five times as many as that at present. International travel service providers and global giants such as American Express, Kar Shun Travel, and Rosenbluth have noticed the potential of China market for business travel and have made inroads into China.

Global business travellers are advised to adhere to local business etiquettes. In Chinese business culture, conservative suits are the norm. For business purposes, it is traditionally acceptable to call a Chinese person by the family name, together with a title, such as “”Director Li”". Avoid using someone’s first name unless you know him or her closely. Formality is a sign of respect, and it is sensible to clarify how you will address someone early in a relationship.

Business hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday. There is, however, a five-day workweek in larger cities. Avoid visiting government offices on Friday afternoon because this is sometimes reserved for “political studying” of the officials. Offices are typically closed on public holidays including the Spring Festival, during which most Chinese take five days off; other holidays during which offices close include Labor Day on May 1, and the National Day on October 1.