Explaining Guanxi: The Chinese Business Network

Front Cover
Taylor & Francis, 2006 - Business & Economics - 169 pages

Guanxi, a system of Chinese business relationships, is often described, but is rarely fully understood. Though it seems intangible, there is no doubt that it has contributed significantly to the success of Chinese entrepreneurs and the places where they work. Translated loosely as 'personal ties', this simple explanation belies a complex and nuanced system. Guanxi has often been criticised as nepotism - unfair, inefficient, even corrupt, and generally detrimental to business and economic growth... but if it is that bad, how does it survive?

This insightful book unravels the origins of Guanxi and provides a much-needed explanation of the phenomena. It investigates:

  • why it was initiated and developed
  • what function it serves
  • how it is maintained
  • why it is such a dominant phenomenon in Chinese business life

Combining economics, law and culture, this clear and concise book looks to the future of Guanxi based on its history. Drawing on cultural, organizational and economic studies, it takes a multi-disciplinary approach, integrating these various topics into a coherent explanation of Guanxi ensuring that this illuminating book will be equally useful to students of Asian business as to practitioners working within this market.


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Explaining guanxi
Analysing guanxi
The influence of Chinese culture
The influence of law in imperial China
The rationality of the traditional Chinese
The future of guanxi

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About the author (2006)

Anthony Walker is Professor Emeritus in Real Estate and Construction at the University of Hong Kong.

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