Guanxi – A Two Way Street
Hi everyone, I’m James from England and I have just started as an intern here at Internchina. This is my first blog and there will be many more to come, I hope you enjoy it! I am carrying on with this weeks theme of business in China, with a focus on 关系 （guanxi).
Most people who have spent any period of time in China will have come across this word, guanxi. The word “guanxi” is used to describe relationships in their many forms, be it between friends, families, businesses etc. In China it is seen as a particularly important concept in order to succeed in whatever you set your mind to; if you have people there to support you in this foreign environment then everything may become slightly more familiar and progress in a smoother way.
Unlike most things in China, guanxi is not something that can be purchased. It is a steady relationship built up over time. By working with people and cooperating together, you may slowly begin to form a bond (This is where being able to speak Chinese may come in handy!) Going out for meals with people you meet, taking them out for drinks, seeing who can drink the most baijiu (very strong Chinese spirits – about 40-60%!), you will slowly form a friendship which one day may come in handy with getting what you want in this foreign environment. You may be introduced to other friends and your contact base could expand tenfold. I assure you being a token foreigner in a Chinese group is an unforgettable experience, and if nothing else it can do great things for your self-esteem!
Networking in this way may be costly and time consuming, but it can also be extremely fun. The rewards you could reap from gaining a lot of “guanxi” will be completely worth the investment of time and money – it could put you in a very comfortable position when trying to find a job, or navigate your way through the Chinese red tape.
A crucial aspect of these relationships you form are that they work both ways. Having Chinese contacts helping you may minimise frustration and disappointment when trying to do business here, but you are also expected to give them something in return. A healthy relationship involves helping each other out in times of need: “If you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”. By doing each other favours your relationship should be long and prosperous!
Spending a period of time in China and working in a Chinese company is the best way to start forming these relationships. By working and socialising with many different people you will have a chance to form these special bonds, which could put you in good sted when trying to find a job in the future. The “guanxi” you gain from an internship in China could sort you out with contacts from across the globe – the world is your oyster!
To gain first hand experience of Guanxi in China, Just send us your application to email@example.com and we can help you finding an internship in China where you will have the chance to get to know the Chinese Business Culture!