Guānxi 关系 Mianzi 面子 and Shíjiān 时间 -Chinese Business Culture concepts

Solid economic expansion, coupled with a rapid market transformation and a series of government reforms, mean China — the world’s second-largest economy — is no longer just a country for low-cost manufacturing. It is also an increasingly attractive destination to do business. – CNN

While on the hunt for some eye-catching photos for this blogpost, and while scrolling through most of them, I could literally smell all these different aromas on markets and streets as well as remembered so many “hotspots” in China that I had the opportunity to get to know during my 3- year experience in the land of the rising sun. I summarized one outstanding adventure in the Yellow Mountains in an article for the China Daily – have a look here for the article – An unforgettable night in a tent.  – link

oriental-pearl-tower-415474_960_720China is an increasingly attractive destination to do business indeed, and as the country keeps rising as an interesting option for many, it can be challenging for businesses to achieve a successful leading position in China’s fast moving markets.

Another point that foreigners should keep in mind is that the way business is conducted in China is different from what they are used to. There are some invisible principles that foreigners should take into consideration when doing business in China.

To help you avoid mistakes and frustration in the future, or to help you prevent a potential deal from failing because of cultural differences, have a look at these three concepts as part of Chinese business culture: time, mianzi (face) and giuangxi (relationship).

tourism-3131411_960_720Time – In Western countries we like to get things done fast. However, when you’re planning on doing business in China, keep in mind that the best strategy here is to let things happen. Your local partners will use your urgency against you, seeing your eagerness for quick results as a weakness. Instead, slightly relax your schedule and your deadlines, and you’ll find your time here less stressful and more rewarding.





Guānxi – Guānxi, or “relationship”, is basically a kind of “networking”. It’s impossible to succeed at business in China if you don’t make the effort to identify and nurture a network of connections. The value of your business lies in the relationships that you create and the way in which you maintain them.



Face – Anything which causes Chinese people to gain ‘face’ or ‘mianzi’, building their reputation, will be highly appreciated and valued. Anything which causes someone to lose face (diminishing their reputation) will be deeply resented and could end a friendship and lose you a business partner. Keep in mind to not publicly criticize others or give praise in front of others, as long as your words are sincere.




As China keeps rising in popularity among foreigners, it is vital for companies to get a clear understanding of the Chinese market before stepping into it.


By providing your business with a wide range of Business Intelligence Tools, P&L Global can help you make your strategic decisions and plan for a successful development. Our work is focused on researching your business, understanding the unique challenges it is facing and getting the best information possible to solve these challenges. 






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