In the current world with most applications like iPhone contact manager, and Gmail contact designed around English names, it is a little bit challenging for Chinese users. Here are my tips:
1. Design a consistent naming system for yourself. Here is mine.
2. Whenever someone has a Chinese name, record it in contact manager using the correct Chinese name.
3. Always input Chinese name as a whole into the Last Name section. It is strange to enter two Chinese characters into the First Name columns, and one character into the Last Name. The worst is when it is displayed, like in iPhone, that last name is in bold font, and there is a space between the first and the last. Not necessary at all.
4. When enter English name, no matter for native American/English, or English name for Chinese, follow the tradition to input last name and first name into their columns.
5. For frequently used Chinese name, enter the phonetic first name, and phonetic last name (both iPhone, and Google contact manager support it), so it is sorted correctly as they were native English names. (Update I found out that I only need to change the International setting, and set the language to Chinese Simplified, it will enable iPhone to automatically sort by Pinyin of the corresponding Chinese. No need to input by ourselves).
6. When possible, enter company names – for family members, enter “Family”, and for classmates, enter the class name into company columns.
7. For certain people, enter “journalist” or similar into Title field, so it can be easily sorted out by search (in both iPhone, and Google Gmail contacts).
8. If I cannot recall who the person is from the contact information, I will delete it (well, with backup somewhere).
9. From time to time, ensure the contact information is up to date.
Tips: from time to time, backup your contact information into some secure places.