Almost anyone who has done business with China, or is planning to, has heard the term “face.” Western businessmen coming to China for the first time often hear about how important face is to the Chinese, and are advised to avoid offending a Chinese person’s face – but what does “face” really mean? – Learn Chinese Business
Like guan xi, mianzi or face keeping is an important feature of Chinese etiquette. it is so important that it can sometime sweep business or relationship aside.
If you are insensitive to the face issue, you may unwittingly lose the support you need. The price can be heavy if the support is critical. This refers not only to relationships with Chinese in China, but also with Chinese outside the country, such as those in Singapore and Malaysia. – Chinese on the Go
As described in the above scene, being criticized or challenged publicly causes a loss of face. So too does openly losing your temper, direct confrontation or failing to show respect.
The severe consequences of losing face make many Chinese strive to save face, for themselves and others. This can be observed by the Chinese tendency to suppress negative opinions and emotions, show respect and avoid causing shame or dishonor.
Even more proactive is finding ways to create or give face. Acknowledging social status, showing appreciation through public praise or giving expensive gifts and recognizing prestige all elevate the recipient and give face. Forbes