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The role of guanxi in Chinese entrepreneurship.

Lee, Edward Yiu-Chung; Anderson, Alistair R.


Edward Yiu-Chung Lee

Alistair R. Anderson


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.


LEE, E.Y.-C. and ANDERSON, A.R. 2007. The role of guanxi in Chinese entrepreneurship. Journal of Asia entrepreneurship and sustainability [online], 3(3), pages 38-51. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 31, 2007
Online Publication Date Dec 31, 2007
Publication Date Dec 31, 2007
Deposit Date Feb 4, 2009
Publicly Available Date Feb 4, 2009
Journal Journal of Asia entrepreneurship and sustainability
Print ISSN 1177-4541
Electronic ISSN 1176-8592
Publisher RossiSmith Academic Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 3
Issue 3
Pages 38-51
Keywords Guanxi; Chinese entrepreneurship; Networking; Cultural
Public URL
Publisher URL


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