Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Crooked Chinese and Guanxi

Posted by w_thames_the_d on March 3, 2011


Guanxi today is nothing more than contacts, and below Stanley Lubman puts it into context.

“Guanxi: A Definition Guanxi has been defined as relating to “particularistic ties,” which are “based on ascribed or primordial traits such as kinship, native place, and ethnicity, and also on achieved characteristics such as attending the same school . . . serving together in the same military unit, having shared experiences, such as the Long March, and doing business together.” For another scholar, guanxi denotes ‘social connections,’ dyadic relationships that are based implicitly (rather than explicitly) on mutual interest and benefit. Once guanxi is established between two people, each can ask a favor of the other with the expectation that the debt incurred will be repaid sometime in the future. Emphasis on the importance of these informal relationships is deeply rooted in Chinese tradition. Commerce in imperial times was largely unregulated by formal law and was intensely relational, and people generally conducted business with counterparts they knew personally or with whom they came into contact through mutual acquaintances or relatives. Informal relations operated as a mechanism that substituted for the rules, procedures and enforcement mechanisms …”

One Response to “Crooked Chinese and Guanxi”

  1. Gowron said

    Makes no difference to me, all this doing business in China nonsense. Heading back to the homeland, where I can go in toliet, take a nice warm bath, and sleep in a comfortable bed not chewed into jerky by bugs, and where hospitals don’t smell like “Chow Tofu”.

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