Home Business Insights & Advice Six great gift ideas for your Chinese friends and colleagues

Six great gift ideas for your Chinese friends and colleagues

by Sarah Dunsby
15th Mar 21 11:34 am

Are you thinking of what to gift your Chinese friends, colleagues, or business associates on their special day?

Don’t think too far, Chinese are not so hard to please.

Although they are well-renowned for their love for gifts – especially on big days like New Year’s Day, New Year’s Eve, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. – Chinese appreciate the simple stuff rather than the expensive stuff.

As you’ll soon discover, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on the newest tech gadgets, fashion accessories, or any sophisticated material to make your Chinese friend smile on their big day.

Dos and don’ts of Chinese gifting

Before we go into the discussion of the things you can give your Chinese geeks on their special day, we’ll like to first intimate you with the dos and don’ts of Chinese gifting so that you don’t end up sending the wrong message with your gifts.

The don’ts of Chinese gifting

1.Don’t give overly cheap or expensive gifts

Before you send a gift to a Chinese friend, ensure you understand the economic status of that person.

This is important because Chinese people like to exchange gifts. As such, when you send them something, they’ll want to return the gesture.

In that case, if you send something too expensive, you put the receiver in an uncomfortable position, as they may not be able to return the favor.

And if you send something of low value, you come off as cheap or stingy.

So, before you send, evaluate the recipient’s economic status.

2.Don’t choose gift colors like white and black

Both the gift and the wrapping material mustn’t come in white or black. The former typifies funerals in the Chinese culture, and the latter stands for evil.

3.Don’t gift the following items

Clocks, umbrellas, scissors, and knives, or shoes. Reason is that

  • “送钟” (sòng zhōng, to gift a clock) sounds like “送终” (sòngzhōng, to attend a funeral ritual)
  • “鞋” (xié, shoes) sounds like “邪” (xié, evil)
  • “伞” (sǎn, umbrella) sounds like “散” (sàn, to break up)

The do’s of Chinese gifting

1.Choose gift colors like yellow, blue, and red

The best colors of gifts or the color to wrap your gifts with are red, blue, and yellow. Red typifies good fortune (good for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, etc.), yellow is a traditional color reserved for the emperor (good for business-related celebrations) and blue signifies healing and immortality (good for baby shower gifts).

Gift gifting ideas for your Chinese friends, colleagues, and associates

1. A basket of fresh fruits or a flower bouquet

Nothing would make a Chinese man happier on a special occasion than a gift package containing a bucket full of fresh fruits or a flower bouquet.

This is particularly true on the Chinese New Year celebration and the weeks before the Spring festival.

Fresh fruits and flowers are seen as a symbol of life, new beginnings, good luck, wealth, fortune, gold, prosperity, and fertility.

Of course, you can mix different fruits in the basket, from apples to oranges to kiwis to pomelos to grapes, etc.

In case you’re wondering, here’s what different fruits and flowers represent:

  • Oranges: Abundance and Happiness
  • Pomelos: Good Luck and Family Unity
  • Grapes, Plums, Jujube (a type of date) and Kumquats – Good Luck and Prosperity
  • Orchids – Fertility and Abundance
  • Peach blossoms – Prosperity and Growth
  • Plum blossoms – Endurance and Courage
  • Peonies – Richness and Peace
  • Pussy Willows – Growth and Prosperity
  • Narcissus or Water Fairy Flowers – Good Fortune and Prosperity

Got a friend in china you’ll like to send a flower bouquet to? Let this Hong Kong flower delivery service help you get your gift across.


Are you surprised to hear that Chinese drink too? Don’t be! In fact, your Chinese buddy might be a far better drinker than you.

But that’s not to say all Chinese drinks. Far from it. In fact, many don’t.

So, you may need to ask your buddy if they drink alcohol or not before you send them a bottle of Vodka, gin, tequila, rum, whisky, brandy, wine, or beer.

If you stay or live outside, it might be better to send a foreign blend or brand of alcohol as such may not be available in China. Chinese appreciate foreign spirits a lot.

But if not, you can still make do with a nice bottle of 茅台酒 (máotáijiǔ), a famous brand of Chinese 白酒 (báijiǔ, distilled Chinese liquor).

3.Send red envelopes containing money

Like you, Chinese love money gifts, too – especially when they are sent in red envelopes (红包 hóngbāo).

If you live or have ever been to China, you’ll notice how people exchange monetary gifts in red envelopes during the Chinese New Year, at weddings, at birthday parties, and other celebratory events. To make your gift more appreciable, you should look to gift shiny, crisp new bills in multiples of 100.


If you grew up watching movies of star actors like Jet Li, Bruce Lee, and Jackie Chan, you’ll remember how the emperors and people of high-status in those movies often have a cup of tea in front of them at all times.

This was no show-off. If anything, it’s a reflection of the long history of love that exists between the Chinese people and tea.

So, if you want to send a gift to a friend in China, high-quality tea leaves packed in nice tins might be a great option.


For those Chinese buddies you enjoy a far more intimate relationship with, sending clothing items like scarves, sunglasses, gloves, gowns, hats, and so on makes a lot of sense.

Safe to say that clothing materials are the perfect yet sentimental gift to send to a loved one in China!

6.Gift cards

Many businesses in China offer gift cards — a lot of restaurants, cafes, and massage parlors even offer bonuses and additional free gifts if you purchase a larger gift bundle.

In the same vein, gift-givers can also buy Starbucks gift cards in bulk and send gift cards to their Chinese friends. As it is, the receiver can use the cards in stores, online, or redeem for actual cash.

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