Tipping in China – Is it Customary to Tip in China?

Tipping in China

The Far East has long been associated with mysticism and fascinating ancient cultures, and of all the countries that fall into the category, China stands as one of the most popular tourist destinations. But, as with any other country, when you’re visiting China, it’s incredibly important to understand and respect traditional beliefs and values.

Today, we’re going to be looking at tipping customs and culture in China. We’ll guide you through whether or not you need to tip and look at how to offer a tip for good service without causing any offence or embarrassment.

What is the Tipping Culture in China?

Tipping is not common practice in China, and leaving tips behind for any service worker is not a part of Chinese culture. This is because, traditionally, Chinese culture places a huge emphasis on hospitality and providing outstanding service is expected from employees without any need for extra compensation in the form of tips.

However, as more Western travellers head to China, things are starting to change a little, and while tipping isn’t part of traditional Chinese culture, it is understood that some tourists want to leave a tip as a gesture of thanks.

Why is Tipping Uncommon in China?

There are both historical and cultural reasons why tipping is uncommon in China, but the main reason is that Chinese culture believes that providing good service and hospitality should be a responsibility rather than encouraged through the possibility of gaining tips.

Also, throughout history, and particularly during periods of socialism, China has adopted a collective mindset with a focus on the strength of a community rather than individual gain. As such, tipping was never customary and, to this day, remains something that is accepted and appreciated but never expected.

When Should You Consider Leaving a Tip?

When Should You Consider Leaving a Tip?

Western influence through tourism has seen certain areas of the Chinese service industry become a little more relaxed around tipping, and it is no longer considered as a way of making individual gain and is understood to be a form of gratitude for excellent service.

Ultimately, this means that you’re able to tip the following people in China:

Tipping Tour Guides

Tipping on private tours and small tours is quite common in China now, particularly in areas with popular tourist attractions. Remember, however, that tipping isn’t compulsory, so if you feel the tour lacked something, there’s no pressure to tip at the end.

What is a Fair Tip to Leave a Tour Guide in China?

As a general rule, you should tip a tour guide around ¥100 CNY ($20 AUD), and if the tour was catered to your specific interests, you can consider going a little higher.

Tipping Hotel Staff

You only need to worry about tipping hotel staff if you’re staying in a high end hotel, such as the Mandarin Oriental. You should also only tip certain staff members, including room attendants and porters.

What is a Fair Tip to Leave Hotel Staff in China?

A good amount to tip a porter would be around ¥20 CNY ($4 AUD), and unlike some other countries, this would be the full amount rather than per bag. For room service attendants, a tip of ¥50 CNY ($10 AUD) would be considered enough.

Chinese Tipping Etiquette: How to Give a Tip?

Chinese Tipping Etiquette

It is essential that you observe cultural sensitivity when tipping in China, as being indiscreet or loud about it can cause offence and embarrassment and may even be considered rude in a lot of places.

Be sure to act as modestly as possible when giving your tip to the recipient, handing it discreetly to them in person or leaving it in a place they’ll be able to find it after you have left.

It’s also important that you leave an appropriate amount of money as a tip. Don’t be tempted to go overboard, no matter how good you think the service was, as this runs the risk of implying that the provider could have done a better job.

Many people choose to provide tips in red envelopes in China as well, as this signifies both good luck and best wishes in Chinese culture and makes it clear that you were satisfied with the service and wish to thank the recipient.

Top Tip: Whether you choose to use a red envelope or not, tipping in China is always best done using cash. Get the best cash rates of AUD to CNY here.

Are There Any Cases Where You Should Avoid Tipping in China?

Tipping in China can be a complicated field to navigate, and there are certain situations in which you might automatically want to tip but shouldn’t.

The first of these is in restaurants, where tipping simply isn’t recognised and, therefore, isn’t expected. This goes for high end restaurants and budget restaurants alike, and you also aren’t expected to tip at street food stalls either.

You also shouldn’t tip taxi drivers in China as, again, it’s unexpected. This same rule also applies if you’re using a ride share app. You’ll also likely find that the service provided by taxi drivers in China doesn’t go above and beyond, and their task is to take you to your destination, not to help you with your luggage!

One thing that is important to note here is that unlike the rest of China, tipping in Hong Kong is actually quite common. Here, you’ll likely find a service charge added to a restaurant bill, and, while you aren’t expected to tip taxi drivers, you may find that the service provided is better and warrants a tip.

For more information on tipping in Hong Kong, check out this ultimate guide.

Heading to China? Get the Best Rates on Chinese Yuan at Crown Currency

There you have it – everything you need to know about tipping in China. As you can see, it is both rare and unexpected, but there are some instances in which tipping is appreciated. It’s also always best to tip using cash when you’re in China, and you can get the best rates on AUD to CNY with no commission fees or hidden costs here. Visit your nearest Crown Currency Exchange store today!

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