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Why Guanxi Matters in Business Relationships with China

March 17, 2016 • STRATEGY & MANAGEMENT, Global Business, David De Cremer on Management

By Bang Nguyen and David De Cremer

Business relationships between China and Europe have existed for quite some time and with the a renewed focus on the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiatives, this relationship is likely to flourish even more. As such guanxi is an integral part of both personal relationships and business conduct in China and societies influenced by the Chinese around the world.

 

In light of this development – the renewed focus on the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiatives – it is crucial to understand what makes business tick in China. Specifically, engaging in business in China, like everywhere else, knowing the right people and building relationships with them will get you ahead. One important peculiarity in the Chinese context is that a personal connection between two individuals will be bounded by an implicit psychological contract to follow the social and cultural norm of guanxi.



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