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Tipping in China

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Though not very common, tipping is gradually being accepted in China, especially during a China group tour. In many starred hotels, high class restaurants and western restaurants, tipping is a way to show your gratitude for exceptional service. However, you don't have to tip all the time when you tour around China.
 History of Tips
Tips have a long history. In ancient China, a gratuity (shǎng qián) was given to the person who ran errands. In the late middle ages, tips were the main income of the maids and bellboys in German hotels. The present tips are said to have originated in the UK in the 18th century. In restaurants, customers put some change or coins into a bowl and got fast and high-quality service.
 When and Where to Tip
Unlike in some western countries, tips are not widely accepted in China. Only in some high-end hotels, superior western restaurants, and when you are in a tour group, are tips expected. You may tip if you feel satisfied with the service. In most Chinese restaurants, the service fee is included in the total price of the meal, so you don't need to tip the waiters or waitresses. Please remember that you are not obliged to tip, so there's no need to feel uneasy if you don't tip. 

 Whom to Tip
When traveling around China, you don't have to tip every one you are satisfied with. The people who accept tips are your tour guides, the tourist bus drivers, the bellboys in high-end hotels, and the waiters in superior western restaurants. It is not necessary to tip taxi drivers and skycaps. If you are not sure about whom to tip, you can always consult your tour guide.
 How Much to Tip in China
 To the tour guides: the sum of the money varies according to the size of your tour group:
Size of a group
Tips from each person per day (USD)
Total sum a guide gets per day (USD)
1 tourist
2 tourists
3 - 9 toursits
9 - 27
Over 10 tourists
more than 20
 To the tourist bus drivers: the tips for the drivers are the same as that for the guides.
 To the bellboys: the tips for bellboys are USD 2 - 3 per room.
 To the waters or waitress: 10% to 15% of the bill.
 Forms of Tips in China
Cash is the most common form of tips. RMB is mostly accepted, and foreign currencies are also very welcomed. As a tradition, Chinese people put money into a red paper packet (红包) as a gift at festivals, weddings, or other happy occasions; therefore, you can also tip your guide and driver with cash in a red paper packet. In addition, a small gift from your country can also be given.
 Tipping in Hong Kong and Macau
In Hong Kong and Macau, however, tipping is as common a practice as in many western countries. You need to tip very often. The taxi drivers usually keep the change as tips. HKD 5 - 10 is tipped to the bellboys for each piece of your luggage. Most restaurants charge 10% of the bill as service fee, while in other hotels, you can either tip in cash or by credit card. Hotels will also charge 15 % of the total bill as a service fee.
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