Traditionally, Chinese New Year is one of the biggest festivals in the cultural year as it marks the end of winter (the old year) and the start of better things to come in the new year. It is also one of the key occasions to exchange gifts in business relationships as a sign of appreciation and respect. The value and presentation of the gifts given are important, as it gives “face” value to the other party.
Here are some of the most popular gifts exchanged in Malaysia:
Flowers & plants
The Chinese culture is rich with flower symbolism that permeates both cultural practices and artistic expression. Because flowers and plants have meaning, choosing the right one for the occasion is important. Also do note that the flowers should be sent as a potted plant as cut flowers are generally associated with funerals. Here are some popular plants and what they symbolize:
Tea and/or tea sets
Tea culture is akin to wine culture whereby the face value of the gift given would be directly proportionate to the grade of the tea. It is not the quantity given but the quality of tea which signifies the culture quotient of the giver so it might be prudent to seek advice if the gift is for a client you want to impress and maintain good relations with.
This fun food in all its sticky goodness was created to keep the Kitchen God happy and seal his mouth on his return to the Jade Emperor when reporting on the activities of the household. For businesses, it symbolises wishes for a better year as the Chinese name for this gift sounds like “higher year”
The Chinese take on cloisonné art which is a sophisticated process of decorating metalwork with inlays, painting and sculpture is highly prized amongst connoisseurs. Originally materials used were primarily bronze and porcelain but today it has expanded to include wood, jade, ivory and lacquer. Cloisonné vases, tea pots and plates with symbols of fortune like wild horses, mountain scenes and 9 carp fish swimming present a permanent wish of good fortune given in good taste.
What do you think of this list of Chinese New Year gift ideas for your business partner? Share your thoughts on what worked for you!