I read a book titled 国际商务汉语 by 李忆民, and I came upon 贵方 in one of the conversation reading. My questions are:

  1. How common is 贵方 being used in real-life conversation?[especially in business or organization case]
  2. How polite is it compared to ?

Here is one of them:

Here is one of them

3 Answers 3

  1. It is very rare to use 贵方 in everyday language. It is almost exclusively used in formal discussions or formal written documents.
  2. 贵方 is roughly as polite as , or perhaps a bit more so. The main difference is that emphasizes the individual you are speaking to, while 贵方 emphasizes the group, company, or organization you are dealing with.

In your picture, it's obvious that "you" are speaking with a bargainer or perhaps the boss. However, "you" don't know if this person is in charge of 按时提交原料 (meaning submitting the material on time). Therefore, "you" use 贵方 to refer to their company, instead of using , which would refer to the individual you are speaking to.

  • 1
    The 方 in 贵方 can be understood as "entity". "aspect" or "side", as in 我方 ("our side", maybe referring to "our group / company / organization / country" according to context), 敌方 ("the enemy's side"), etc. 贵 is a formal, respectful reference to "your", as in 高抬贵手 ("please raise your hand", i.e. "please spare us"), 贵公子 ("your son"). Sep 21, 2023 at 7:14
  • Yes you are right, the speakers are both bargaining about material procurement @Maynic Oct 7, 2023 at 15:01
  • 多谢您的答应🙏 @ Maynic @twisteroidambassador Oct 7, 2023 at 15:03

That is a traditional way of been extremely polite and showing extremely respect to the counterparty, such as "贵方" (means yours, or your side), "贵府" (your home or your office), "贵公子" (your son) and "贵庚" (your age?) or "贵姓" (your surname?) etc.

Although it could be understood as next level of respect over "您", but there's a little bit different here: "贵xxx" could also been used to indicate 3rd party, with a bit of objective view but respect feel. Such as:

"不知道她贵庚几何?" - How old is she (in respect way)?
"敢问尊夫人贵姓?" - May I ask your wife's (in respect way) surname?

Also, this is normally used in written Chinese now days, especially for "贵方" which is a bit odd in oral communication. So, it's not very common in the real life conversation, but still, in some business writing, this may still been used.

  • 多感谢您的答应🙏。。。。。。 Oct 7, 2023 at 15:15

As the title of your book suggests, much of the words used in it is strictly business jargon. Therefore, it should be expected that many specific phrases aren’t commonly used in real life.


is a great example of this. It is a phrase specifically used when in a business or political negotiation, to address with opposing party with respect. It is more professional than respectful when compared to 您.

Another example from your book is


which is simply a more professional and respectful way to say “your factory” or “您/你的工厂”. But, if you look at conversations between Chinese people, it almost never comes up.

  • Yes, I also feel a bit weird, because I've never heard anyone says 贵方 in videos, movies etc. Thankyou🙏 Oct 7, 2023 at 15:05

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