The role of guanxi in chinese entrepreneurship
Lee, Edward Yiu-Chung
Anderson, Alistair R.
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Although networks are widely recognised as improving entrepreneurial performance, China which is seen as a traditional Confucian society, has a unique form of networking, guanxi - “special relationships”. These guanxi networks were seen as a social means to overcome political, economic and legislative obstacles to enterprise. Yet China has recently enjoyed exceptional entrepreneurial growth, shaped, in part, by exposure to the west. In turn, this may have changed the traditional attitudes and applications of guanxi in modern China. Accordingly this paper explores the current entrepreneurial use of guanxi in China. We adopted a survey technique, gathering largely qualitative data from Chinese entrepreneurs. These data were about the current importance, application and utility of guanxi. We present the descriptive data and illustrative comments so substantiate our analysis. We found that guanxi was still pervasive and widely used. Many respondents felt it was an essential part of business but few entrepreneurs enjoyed using guanxi. Nonetheless, for them, guanxi is based on trust and friendship.