25 Essential Chinese Words for Doing Business in China _United Travel

September 01, 2017

United Travel

Did you know that next to English, Mandarin Chinese is the top business language to learn? The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) reported a business travel spend of nearly $300 billion alone in China in 2015, making it the biggest market for business travel.  With so many of you travelling to China for business, it is important to understand and respect the Chinese work culture. The Chinese work culture is focussed around building relationships. The importance of relationships is why Chinese spend a lot of time having business get-togethers, such as eating together at restaurants or playing golf with business partners.

One way to show good etiquette and to develop a positive relationship is to understand the Chinese language. Showing your Chinese associates that you are willing to go the extra mile by learning their language, is a sign of great trust and respect. To really impress your potential business partners and customers, try learning these 25 essential Chinese words for doing business in China.

25 Essential Chinese Words for Doing Business in China:

Greeting someone in Chinese:

1. Hello – 你好 (Nǐ hǎo)

Pronounced: Nee how

2. Good morning – 早上好 (Zǎoshang hǎo)

Pronounced: Dzaoww-shung haoww

3. Good afternoon – 下午好 (Xiàwǔ hǎo)

Pronounced: Sshyah-woo haoww

4. Good evening –  晚上好 (Wǎnshàng hǎo)

Pronounced: Wan-shung haoww

5. My name is…- 我的名字是 (Wǒ de míngzì shì)

 Pronounced: Waw jeow


Responding in Chinese:

6. Yes – 是 (Shì)                        

Pronounced: Shrr

7. No: 号 (Bié-shi)

Pronounced: Boo-shrr

8. I can’t understand  我不明白 (Wǒ bù míngbái)

Pronounced: Wo boo dong

9. You’re welcome – 别客气 (Bié kèqì)

Pronounced: Boo ke chee

10. I’m sorry – 对不起 (Duìbùqǐ)

Pronounced: Doo-ay boo chee          

11. Thank you –  谢谢 (Xièxiè)         

Pronounced: Shieh shieh

12. Excellent – 优秀 (Yōuxiù)

Pronounced: how Jee-luh

13. That’s not good: 这不好 (Zhè bù hǎo)

Pronounced: boo how

14. Good/ok – 好 (Hǎo)              

Pronounced: How

15. I am English – 我是英国人 (Wǒ shì yīngguó rén)

Pronounced: Waw shir Ying gwaw ren

16. Check, please! –  工资 (Mǎidān)      

Pronounced: my dan


Ending Conversation in Chinese:

17. Good bye –  再见 (Zàijiàn)

Dzai jee-en

18. Bye-bye

This is pronounced the same in English and is more commonly used than good bye in China.                    


Asking basic questions in Chinese:

19. How are you? – 你好吗?(Nǐ hǎo ma?)

Pronounced: Nee how mah?

20. May I ask your name? 请问你的名字?(Qǐngwèn nǐ de míngzì?)

Pronounced: Ching-win gway-shing

21. Do you have…?  你有… (Nǐ yǒu…)          

Pronounced: Yoh-may-yoh…?

22. How long (time)?   多久? (Duōjiǔ?)

Pronounced: Dwor jyoh?

23. What is this?  這是什麼?(Zhè shì shénme?)

Pronounced: Jer shrr shnn-muh?

24. Have you eaten? 吃了嗎?(Nǐ Chīle ma?)

Pronounced: Nee chrr luh mah?

25. How much money (does it cost)? 多少錢 (Duōshǎo qián)

Pronounced: Dwor-sshaoww chyen


These basic Chinese words will get you through introductions and impress your Chinese associates throughout your business meeting. But to be on the safe side, make sure you have a Chinese translator with you (so you’re not just faking it along).


We hope these 25 essential Chinese words for doing business help build stronger relationships with your Chinese business associates. Please contact our team of travel experts at United Travel for some friendly support on business travel.

Share your best business travel moment using the hashtag #UTBusinessTravel on social media.

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