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What’s “guanxi”?

Guanxi is regarded as the central idea in Chinese society with long historical and cultural roots. It is understood and utilized by virtually every Chinese person in greater or lesser measure.


Understanding how the Chinese view guanxi is crucial to understanding Chinese people. It is too simple to call guanxi “relationships”, “networking”, or “connections”, because all of these things are basic fibers of the Chinese culture.


Guanxi can take on many forms. It does not have to be based on money. Developing and nurturing guanxi requires time and resources. People rely on it not only for getting things done, but also for protection, security and support.

In the West, relationships grow out of deals. In China, deals grow out of relationships. Chinese prefer to work with persons they know and trust. This relationship extends between companies and also between individuals at an ongoing personal level. With manners, diligence, courtesy and goodwill on establishes his/her own guanxi.


For foreigners, no matter how much experience you have in western business management, the right “Guanxi” inChinawill make all the difference in ensuring success. The inevitable risks, barriers, and set-ups you’ll encounter inChinawill be minimized when you have the right “Guanxi” network working for you.

Chinese Culture
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