So what is Guanxi, and why is it important in doing business in China?
The Chinese believe that friendship lasts longer than business relationships, and as such make friends first and do business later. Guanxi is based on trust, and the trust comes from investing a great deal of time and effort in relationships. As our customers know, we are lucky enough to spend many hours in fantastic restaurants whilst pickling our livers…and this is all in the name of Guanxi! Developing relationships in this way can be very constructive, but be warned, your host believes the drunker his visitor gets, the better they have entertained you! A brief visit once a year to a supplier certainly helps, but the day to day relationship is somewhat harder to manage from 5,000 miles away – where regular meetings, phone calls, seasonal greetings, social media interaction and a few gifts from time to time all help in generating and maintaining trust. In our world, Guanxi is a crucial part in supporting our customers, and knowing that we can get the absolute best cooperation when it is needed most. Whilst Guanxi is not widely understood in the West, it is the corner stone of a successful supplier relationship, and one that we work on day in day out to ensure our customers have a stable and responsive supply base.