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2.6 Business practices

Business hours

In Hungary, banks are open Monday through Thursday from 8 am to 3 pm, and from 8 am to 1 pm on Friday. As for government and business offices, they are largely open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. But for some offices, they may be closed at 1 pm on Friday. Therefore, companies intending to do business with Hungary should check the business hours of their Hungarian counterparts, especially the hours on Friday, before making appointments with them.

On the other hand, there are no restrictions on the business hours for retail shops. For shops located in residential and suburban areas, they may be open Monday through Friday from 10 am to 6 pm, from 9 am to 1 pm on Saturday and closed on Sunday. For shops located in downtown as well as high street areas, however, many are open till 6 pm on Saturday, and from 10 am to 2 pm on Sunday. As for the shopping centres, they are open for longer hours, normally from 10 am to 10 pm during weekdays and Saturday, and from 10 am to 6 pm on Sunday.

Religion and holidays

According to the figures compiled by the Hungarian Central Statistical Office, Roman Catholic accounts for some 55% of the population, while another 20% are Protestant. By the way, Christianity is upheld by the majority of people, and public holidays in the country on the whole follow Christian traditions, such as Easter, All Saint’s Day and Christmas.

Meanwhile, Revolution Day, in memory of the anniversary of the 1848/49 revolution and war of independence, is set on 15 March, while Republic Day, in memory of the anniversary of the 1956 revolution and war of independence, is set on 23 October. National Day, which is to celebrate the founding of Hungarian statehood (founder of the Hungarian State, i.e. King Stephen I), is on 20 August. Other public holidays in Hungary include New Year’s Day, Labour Day and Whit Sunday and Monday.

Public holidays in Hungary

Date for 2010

Date for 2011

Event

1 January

1 January

New Year’s Day

15 March

15 March

Revolution Day

5 April

25 April

Easter Monday

1 May

1 May

Labour Day

24 May

13 June

Whit Monday

20 August

20 August

National Day

23 October

23 October

Republic Day

1 November

1 November

All Saints’ Day

25-26 December

25-26 December

Christmas

Business meeting

The customs for business meetings in Hungary are more or less similar to those in the West. Apart from meetings in the office, Hungarians also welcome business lunches or dinners. Long lunches are usually conducive for doing business and building a working relationship. Serving guests with wine over dinner is one of the usual practices, although a lesser number of people may order beer instead.

Greetings

As for greetings, shaking hands is the usual norm. But do not be surprised if a Hungarian kisses the hand of a business woman instead.

Schedule

Companies intending to do business with Hungary should observe the business schedule of their Hungarian counterparts. Most Hungarians usually take a long break during the Christmas and New Year period. Besides, many Hungarian companies will be closed for a short period in July and August, as businessmen like to take their leave during the summer.

Usual language

In the business community, German and English are the most common languages for liaison with foreign companies. Traditionally, the older generation tends to speak German, given the country’s proximity to Germany (and Austria) and the importance of German investment there. But English is increasingly popular in the country, and it is more likely for younger businessmen to speak in English nowadays.

Tipping  

In general, restaurants do not include service charges in their listed prices. When checking the bill, it is therefore customary to give some tips, normally equivalent to 10%-15% of the bill.

 

Content provided by Hong Kong Trade Development Council
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