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Tipping in China - what is best practice?

Tipping in China - what is best practice?

Old Dec 25, 18, 8:30 am
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Tipping in China - what is best practice?

What is the tipping policy re: hotel (bellboys, cleaning ladies), taxi drivers, tour guides, restaurants etc?
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Old Dec 25, 18, 8:35 am
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If you're on a group tour of China -- and it doesn't sound like you are -- then Westerners are usually expected to tip the tour leader at the end.

Otherwise, tipping is very rare. I'll round-up if the barber did a nice job. Otherwise, no tipping.
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Old Dec 25, 18, 8:39 am
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Originally Posted by 889 View Post
If you're on a group tour of China -- and it doesn't sound like you are -- then Westerners are usually expected to tip the tour leader at the end.

Otherwise, tipping is very rare. I'll round-up if the barber did a nice job. Otherwise, no tipping.
Thanks.

We will be staying at the Fairmont. What about tipping bell boys?

We will be going to China by ourselves. If we decide to take group sightseeing tours, what about tipping the tour guide or bus drivers?
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Old Dec 25, 18, 8:49 am
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I'd never tip in China. "Rounding up" for services like a barber is fine (say, it costs 15 RMB, I'll give 20 RMB and they'll happily accept)

Taxi drivers (if you're not using Didi) also don't mind a tip.

I'd NOT tip hotel staff, restaurant staff etc., and pay the exact amount. It's short of an insult to tip in restaurants.

IF you've liked a service extremely (a tour guide might fall on this) they might be OK with a tip, but it's far from expected.

Luckily, the crazy north american tipping doesn't exist in China (or, actually, in the rest of the world.. albeit in some countries tipping is allowed, it's nowhere mandatory) - you pay whats stated, and don't have to add like 20% to the bill.
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Old Dec 25, 18, 10:35 am
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Originally Posted by YuropFlyer View Post
I'd never tip in China. "Rounding up" for services like a barber is fine (say, it costs 15 RMB, I'll give 20 RMB and they'll happily accept)

Taxi drivers (if you're not using Didi) also don't mind a tip.

I'd NOT tip hotel staff, restaurant staff etc., and pay the exact amount. It's short of an insult to tip in restaurants.

IF you've liked a service extremely (a tour guide might fall on this) they might be OK with a tip, but it's far from expected.

Luckily, the crazy north american tipping doesn't exist in China (or, actually, in the rest of the world.. albeit in some countries tipping is allowed, it's nowhere mandatory) - you pay whats stated, and don't have to add like 20% to the bill.
Thanks.

PS-what is didi?
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Old Dec 25, 18, 10:41 am
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It's an Uber-like service.
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Old Dec 25, 18, 12:54 pm
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As a side issue, better not join tour groups. either get around by yourself or hire a private guide. It is not expensive, at least for someone staying at the Fairmont.
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Old Dec 27, 18, 5:34 am
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I never tip when I'm in China as when I'm with Chinese colleagues they never tip anyone. On one of my early trips I tried giving a tip to bell boy and had it thrown back at me. I learned my lesson not to offend the locals.
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Old Dec 27, 18, 6:50 am
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I usually tip 5 yuan per piece of luggage the bellboy brings to my room. Nothing for cleaners, restaurants, and taxis - tipping is not local practice.

I tend to round up to the next yuan for taxis though. The proliferation of mobile payment apps has probably eliminated that round-up as well..
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Old Dec 27, 18, 7:57 am
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I have found that tipping is starting to be an expectation if you look "American". Hilton Wangfujing bell stand called my room after I was taken up and they asked me if i had tipped. Guess they assumed the guy was lying to them and they wanted their share of my tip.
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Old Dec 27, 18, 8:01 am
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Tipping neither expected nor required. No need to give it a second thought.
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Old Dec 27, 18, 9:41 am
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I apologize but I'm one of those Americans that can't stop tipping. Although my tipping is limited to taxi drivers and the hotel staff since I always stay in the same hotel with extended stays, I spend close to 6 months of the year usually about a month at a time. The hotel staff, bellboys and house cleaning, are always happy to receive tips. In addition to tipping I also try to get to know them personally and not treat them like "the help". In the morning, I take a taxi to my office and the drivers are pretty regular so I add a few yuan all the time. If I stay close to New Year, I like to give red packets out also. I've never tried to tip in a restaurant nor would I think its appropriate.

For me, building that relationship does matter and the staff is always ready to help me out when I need, like coming quickly if I call for something, bring extra water, towels, etc. I am not advocating an attempt to export tipping culture, it's just my experience. It's kind of baked into me and I only do it where mentioned above. I've never had a tip refused in China.
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Old Dec 27, 18, 10:01 am
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I don't tip, except for higher end American hotels, where I'll leave something for housekeeping staff daily.
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Old Dec 27, 18, 1:04 pm
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There is a saying, service is included except for Americans who are expected to tip.
@synthkeys - hard to believe maybe, but you'll get the same level of service if you do not tip.
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Old Dec 27, 18, 5:12 pm
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@JPDM I hear you. I'm not trying to defend or advocate. I understand in most of the world (i.e. not America or maybe the UK) tipping is not customary or expected. But I think there's an aspect to tipping that's not as understood. Many consider a tip as a reward for good service and many times it is. Oh the wait staff did an exceptional job serving for dinner, let's reward them. But there's also the idea of using a tip as an incentive for future good service. If I frequent the same bar and tip the bartender well, the bartender will remember me next time, and take care of me.

I've worked in the financial industry most of my career. I believe the concept of the year-end bonus is as much about an incentive for next year as it as a reward the the past year.

Anyway, I don't want to go on too much. Its just what I do. My girlfriend in China complains about it too. "Why did you give the taxi driver 5 yuan extra! Give it to me!" The hotel I stay in is pretty nice but its no Ritz Carlton, not even a Hilton , 5 star but it's Chinese 5 star. The service is not quite up to what I would see in a western hotel. Tipping the staff gives them a little incentive to help remember who I am and help me out when I need it. So I have no problem playing the ugly American who throws money away on useless tipping.
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