This study explored the pragmatic strategies that advanced L2 learners of Chinese produced in greeting responses (GRs). Data were collected through roleplays and retrospective verbal reports (RVRs) from 11 advanced learners of Chinese who were studying in China. To obtain comparison data, 20 Chinese students were recruited to complete the same roleplays. The GRs were coded into openings, head acts and closings, and classified into ten strategies: phatic phrases, address terms, corresponding answers, reciprocal compliments, disagreeing, seeking confirmation, thanking, reciprocity questions, introducing another topic and reasons. The findings revealed that compared with Chinese native speakers (NSs), advanced learners produced non-target-like GRs, although their GRs were acceptable based on two NSs’ evaluation. The RVR data indicated that the learners’ non-target-like GRs might result from their idiosyncratic perceptions of Chinese greetings, pragmatic knowledge deficits, effects of instruction and learner agency. Implications for future research and teaching Chinese pragmatics are also discussed.