We know that traveling to China for business is quite different from traveling to China for a vacation trip. You’re focused, with your goals and objectives in mind and you barely have time to think about what souvenirs to bring back home to your family and friends. Instead of desperately trying to find gifts the last few hours before your flight and ending up buying them at the airport, we’ve made things easy for you. Forget about the typical teas and qipaos go-to items, and surprise your loved ones with really unique gifts that tell a story on China’s rich cultural history that you can bring home from your China business trip. Here’re the top 7 gifts that are affordable and easy to find almost anywhere in China:
Chinese calligraphy, which literally means ‘beautiful writing’ is an ancient art that is famous all over the world and is very popular among foreigners. Calligraphy is a fine art that comes in many different styles and is a way of expressing spirits as the calligrapher’s mood, personality, ideas, thoughts, and soul is carried in the work. It makes a great gift to bring home from your China business trip because it can be found on pottery, fans or cloth which come in different sizes and can be hung up anywhere. Many calligraphers can also paint your Chinese name or a custom message which make great gifts. Chinese Calligraphy can be found anywhere in China but Panjiayuan in Beijing and Silk Street are havens for Chinese calligraphy and art.
Jade craftworks or ‘yu’ as it’s called in China, are China’s national gem that symbolizes beauty, nobility, perfection, constancy, power and immortality in Chinese culture. Having a 4000-year history in China, Jade is traditionally handed down for generations to females in a family. Traditionally, Jade was worn by the rich and was used to decorate rooms to indicate loyalty, elegance, and beauty. Jade makes a particularly great gift for women as it has a special importance for females in China.
Jade is a little bit more on the expensive size, specifically when buying quality Jade. It’s quality varies. Those of higher quality are usually cut into smaller pieces and crafted into pendants, bracelets, and watches. It’s a good idea to take a Chinese counterpart with you when purchasing Jade in order to determine which is the best quality.
Wine and Spirits
Alcoholic drinks from a foreign country to be enjoyed at home always make great gifts, specifically ones that are made in China. In ancient China, wines and spirits were considered sacred and used only for sacrifices. Today, they’ve become such a vital part of the Chinese culture and the Chinese business culture, specifically to be accompanied with Chinese food and the dining experience.
Local spirits, also known as baijiu (pronounced bye-joe) is made from grains and can be purchased from either the side of the road in small bottles for about 5Y or in a grocery store ranging between 10Y – 1000Y. Baiju has its reputation of being very potent and you should have quite a strong stomach for consuming it. This gift is suitable to bring home from your China business trip for your friends who enjoy drinking and for yourself to celebrate once you’ve closed that business deal of course.
Chinglish T-shirts (CHINTS)
Chinglish T-shirts are what happens when you mix Chinese and English. They are exceptional gifts for teenagers or those who enjoy a little bit of humor. Chints are T-shirts that are printed with ridiculously inappropriate English sayings that don’t make any sense. Some of them don’t say anything at all while others are the epitome of translation fails. They can be found at markets or in shopping malls and are extremely cheap. If you see one of these and don’t exactly have a recipient in mind, make sure you buy it. We can guarantee you that one of your loved ones will find it hilarious.
Here are examples of some of the most Hilarious Chinglish Signs in China
The Little Red Book
When shopping for souvenirs in China, you might be curious as to what the popularity with the Little Red Books are. The Little Red Book forms a big part of China’s history when the Cultural Revolution was launched under communist leader Chairman Mao Zedong. The book contained snippets of Mao’s speeches and writings which he used to form an army of young Chinese enthusiasts who supported his cause. With more than a billion copies have being published, the book is considered to be one of the widely produced books in history. Today, rather than Chinese youths waving their books in the air, these books can be found in stores as souvenirs and are specifically popular with foreigners. These books are excellent gifts to bring home from your China business trip, especially for lovers of history and they are cost-effective and light to carry in luggage.
Get more information on The Little Red Book here.
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Traditional Chinese Masks
Anyone who loves performance art and the opera will appreciate these traditional Chinese masks. Common to Beijing Opera, these masks make up an important part of Chinese entertainment. There are many different types of masks such as dancer’s masks, masks for newborns, masks for festive occasions and theatrical masks. They are vibrant with many different colors, meanings, and emotions associated with each color. These masks can be given as a gift or hung up on blank walls in your home as artwork to make a statement.
Read about Chinese traditional masks and their color meanings in Chinese opera.
The Hulusi Gourd Flute is a traditionally Dai musical instrument which makes for a special gift specifically for someone who loves and appreciates music. The name comes from the Chinese words hulu meaning ‘gourd’, and si meaning ‘silk’.This instrument is very popular due to it’s pure, smooth sound, similar to that of an oboe or clarinet and is easy to learn how to play. It’s a wind instrument made from bamboo. This instrument can either be played or displayed in your home due it’s exotic look and it is easy to transport because it is small and very lightweight.
Here is more information on the Hulusi Chinese Gourd Flute.