Last Name First

In China, the family name (surname) appears first, and the first name (given name), last. So for Jiang Zemin, Jiang is the family name, Zemin is the given name. For a Chinese businessperson or official who frequently interacts with foreigners, names may be spoken/written in the Western format. If you are uncertain as to which is which, it never hurts to ask for clarification.

Meet, Greet, or Address

Refer to a Chinese associate as Mr./Ms. (surname), or (title) and (surname). Using titles is a sign of respect and is done frequently in China. For example, it is preferable to address someone as Section Chief Zhang instead of Mr. Zhang. As in the United States, always address a person by the higher rank indicated in their title. For example, if you are meeting a vice governor or vice director, refer to them as Governor so and so or Director so and so, respectively, unless their superior (i.e. the governor or director) is present. Unless you are longtime friends, avoid calling Chinese by their first names. You may however call a Chinese you know well by his or her complete name. Chinese family names are usually listed first on their name cards and are almost always one syllable.