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Doing Business in India For Dummies® by Ranjini Manian

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A Generous Hand: Gifting in India

Who doesn’t like receiving gifts? Indians are no different from the rest of the world in this regard. In a business context, it’s quite appropriate to take along a small gift each time you meet someone.

You can limit your gifting to the CEO, but if you’re meeting with two people of the same standing, make sure that you don’t leave one of them out.

Giving an appropriate gift

Giving gifts in India can be a challenge for the new visitor or expatriate who has to deal with a complex culture. To complicate matters, India is a heady mix of tradition and modernity, and on the corporate front, it’s a mix of multinational companies with multinational personnel, traditional family businesses, and companies with a distinctly Indian corporate culture.

The best way to work through the maze of potential gifts is to identify how well you know the recipient. In general, maintain a level of formality with your gifts unless you know the person really well. Indians appreciate a gift that’s typical of the giver’s country, but you should refrain from giving tourist souvenirs.

Here are some of the safest gifts:

Chocolates
Cognac, whisky, or champagne (if you know that the recipient is a drinker)
Floral bouquets
Items from your country
Paintings
Perfumes
Watches

The ...

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