Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Chinese drinking habit: ordering drinks for everyone at once!

Today I want to tell you about a Chinese specific drinking habit. As it can help us decode some aspects of Chinese culture.

In bars, discos, you will see Chinese people ordering 10, 20 or 30 beers at once.
Or they could order a bottle of wine or a bottle of whisky and some ice tea that you mix in some pitcher.
Why is that? and what does this tell us about Chinese ways?

Hospitality and networking.
In China, one person will always invite the others. He will buy all the drinks. It is a way to show hospitality and offer something.
In return, others will have do the same and next time pay all the beers. This is how you build networking, guanxi in China. People will offer and you should offer in return.

Showing off.
Chinese people feel the need to show off, to boast their money, their power, their status.
While paying for many beers at once, you show that you have money. Thus you gain status and respectability in the eyes of others. I once explained why Chinese people buy expensive cars. This is the same here.
Also bars are often a place to show yourself. Even though Chinese cities are huge, there are only a few places, bars, discos where the wealthiest go out.

In the past China has gone through many hardships. Therefore abundance is valued.
When eating or drinking, there should never be any shortage of food or drinks. Letting your guest drink and eat as much as they want gives you face.

Chinese people say that first you make friends and later you do business. In order to build friendship, you should be happy and drink.
Having many drinks available is a first step to drinking without any bundaries. For instance, I once told you that at wedding it is better to sell wine bottle with screw corks. As these wine bottle are easy to open. And guest can drink more without having to ask for the assistance of any waiter.

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