‘Guanxi’ and negotiation

The development and maintenance of ‘guanxi’ is important when negotiating and communicating in the Greater China Region . A popular saying in Mandarin is ‘friends before businesses’. The closest English translation for ‘guanxi’ is relationship. Relationship in Chinese culture means a business relationship, and carries the same importance as a strong friendship, marriage or partnership.

Building ‘guanxi’ is a vital part of doing business with a Chinese person. A Chinese business person will rarely do business with a stranger. Solid ‘guanxi’ can be with you for the rest of your life, and like any relationship, it takes some effort to maintain. A common Chinese saying in Mandarin is ‘no relationship no business.’ The difference is that in a Western country the quality and price are the major issues, whereas in the Greater China Region there must be a strong relationship before there can be any discussion about quality and price.

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