How to Write a Formal Letter in Chinese
How to Write a Formal Letter in Chinese
Business,Learning Mandarin
20/01/2022

Are you conducting formal business in or with China? It’s important to know how to construct a formal letter in Chinese. While most business is conducted online these days, formal communication is still needed on occasion and it’s important to ensure you use the correct wording and salutations to comply with Chinese business etiquette.

We already know how important the concept of Guanxi or building and maintaining relationships is in China. Although China has opened to Western business, it’s still crucial to understand Guanxi to develop business relationships in China. It will also likely help you to develop closer relationships with Chinese businesspeople than your non-Chinese speaking colleagues.

Letter Writing Vocabulary in Chinese

Chinese Simplified: 信 
Chinese Traditional: 信 
Pinyin: xìn 
English: Letter 

Chinese Simplified: 写信 
Chinese Traditional: 寫信 
Pinyin: xiě xìn 
English: To write a letter 

Key Chinese Punctuation

Full Stop: 。 
General Comma: , 
Comma for listing nouns: 、 
Question Mark: ? 
Exclamation Mark: ! 

The Salutation

Example: 尊敬的王先生, 
Pinyin: zūnjìng de wáng xiānshēng, 
English: Dear Mr Wang, 

Follow this formal salutation with the person’s name.

Example: 尊敬的王先生, 
Pinyin: zūnjìng de wáng xiānshēng, 
English: Dear Mr Wang, 

Greetings

Chinese Simplfied: 您好 
Chinese Traditional: 您好 
Pinyin: nín hǎo 
English: Hello (Formal)  
Example: 尊敬的王先生,您好! 
Pinyin: zūnjìng de wáng xiānshēng, nín hǎo! 
English: Dear Mr Wang,hello!  

Main Body

Keep formal within the main body of the email and address the topic of your letter.

Closing Greeting

The following characters should be written across two lines, aligned right:

Chinese Simplified: 
此致 
敬礼 
Chinese Traditional: 
此致 
敬礼 
Pinyin: 
cǐzhì 
jìnglǐ 
English: I end my words with respect.  

Signature

Your name, aligned right, followed by 敬上 (Traditional: 敬上) :

Example Chinese Simplified: 马伟敬上 
Example Chinese Traditional: 馬偉敬上 
Pinyin: mǎwěijìng shàng 
English: Respectfully yours, Ma Wei.  

Date

Aligned to the right, follow the Chinese date format. Example: 2022年01月22日 (year, month, date).

Need to communicate online? Read our guide for how to send a formal email in Chinese.

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