Guanxi in China

I first learned about Guanxi from the China Law Blog, which quoted the Silicon Hutong Blog.

After reading the post at the China Law Blog, I did more research and also watched a few videos on the subject.

I learned that Guanxi is one of those complexities of Chinese culture that does not translate easily.

There are several elements and layers to Guanxi. First, Guanxi are based on a Confucian hierarchy of familial relationships, long-term friendships, classmates, and schoolmates and to those no stranger – Chinese or foreign – will ever have access. Source: Silicon Hutong

Guanxi developed over the millennia because China did not have a stable and effective legal system. 

In fact, the legal system in China today is relatively new and made its appearance after the 1982 Chinese Constitution was written as the law of the land.

Since 1982, there have been several amendments to the Constitution as China adapts its evolving legal system.

In time, this legal system may replace Guanxi since business law modeled on Western law with Chinese characteristic has developed faster than civil law.

There are a several opinions about Guanxi.  I learned that Guanxi is similar to a gate that opens to a network of human beings but it isn’t that simple.

Merchants in China needed a way to avoid disputes and problems in the absence of a well-developed legal system. To survive, this complex system called Guanxi developed with many components such as partnerships, trust, credibility, etc.

Maintaining Guanxi is different than how relationships are maintained in other cultures. The embedded video with this post offers a more detailed explanation.

The China Law Blog copied the post from the Silicon Hutong Blog.  The post on the China Law Blog had more than twenty comments and it was a lively discussion worth reading if you are interested in discovering more on this topic.

To learn more about Chinese culture, see Honor


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

3 Responses to Guanxi in China

  1. […] However, there is another implied theme and that is why sex is important—something all cultures and races have in common that often transcends cultural differences. In the play, Daniel, an unhappily married man has an affair with an unhappily married mainland Chinese woman. Without spoiling the story, this affair provides the link that Daniel needs to succeed in China, and that link is Guanxi. […]

  2. tennjournal says:

    You’ve done wonderful research on China.

Comments are welcome — pro or con. However, comments must focus on the topic of the post, be civil and avoid ad hominem attacks.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: