Adrian Allen: The first step is to make an effort to get to know Chinese people on a personal level. This takes time because you need to build trust first – it is not a given.
Business in China is often more personal than in the West. It sounds a bit of a cliche but in China people tend to buy from people rather than from companies.
If you can do a small favour then see that as an opportunity. Here we are not talking about corruption but simple things such going out to dinner, visiting their factory, providing some helpful information or advice based on your own experience. Small favours are a good starting point, but always beware of getting sucked into a situation where the small favour turns into a Merc – when you get asked for that it is not really guangxi and its time to head home.
Leon Ding: I believe you are right, given that I am here in China for past 7 years now. China has a unique political and business culture.
Great to see many of your posts here.
Bernhard Wessling: I would not call it “guanxi” as this term has special meaning. According to my experience, you “simply” need to build a good relationship with your business partners by being reliable, competent, open and humble (but straightforward). In addition, (according to my experience) it helps a lot to build a network on just personal and friendship basis, with neighbors, shop (restaurant) owners, and friends whith whom you spend leisure time (I play soccer a lot with 2 different Chinese soccer teams). And you should invest time and patience and effort to learn the language.
Willy Tits: I am not an expat, but I have been travelling to China quite a lot in the last ten years. As most Europeans, I tend to keep my business contacts out separate from my personal contacts.
But I can honestly say that I have made friends with locals in most of the cities I have visited.
Would I call them Guanxi? I don’t know, but I do know that whenever I am in town, and these friends know it (I usually let them know I’m coming over through WeChat), we will definitely meet for a drink or a meal.
If I look back at how I met most of these I have to conclude that I actually met all of them after hours when going out for a drink. Some of them I have met through the ‘look around’ function of WeChat.
After a few casual meetups, I usually invite them to dinner (since I’m always travelling alone, I usually have dinner alone).
I think one prerequisite for this to work, is to have a genuine interest in and respect for China and its people. I have met some wonderful people this way and some of them I can honestly call friends.
Susan Xu: I don’t think there a best way other than to learn and understand well Chinese culture and its business culture. You get the guanxi from there,like in any other country but it probably plays more role in China.
And in my opinion and with my experience working foreigners, if you want to have good guanxi with Chinese personally and business wise, you should first learn well the language. Everything is there!
Jane Liu: Good “Guanxi” with Chinese is not difficult in general, as Chinese always very open and sincere to foreigners. They like to chat with “big noses” to know a bit more about the world. However, if you want to build good relation with Chinese and doing business together, it really depends on how sincere you are, whether you do show the understanding of their situation/decision, and whether you can win the trust with Chinese.
There is a Chinese phrase called “Yuan Fen”, means “destiny” or “fate”. If you do have “Yuan Fen” with him/her, you will build really good “Guanxi”.
Joseph Lemien: Charles, I think you need to collect more empirical data on air pollution, water toxicity, earth toxicity, food toxicity etc…I was mostly referring to that in ”quality of living”.