Building Social Networks in China

The Chinese tend to ignore strangers and be intensely loyal to friends, so you’ll want to do business in China with friends. Here’s the art of relationship management in the Middle Kingdom
Building Social Networks in China

In today’s global economy, failure in China is not an option for any business that intends to be a significant player. One of the key determinants of business success in China is being able to network and build strong, long-term relationships.

People will say that relationships are equally important in North American business culture but, in reality, there’s a great deal of difference between North America and China in terms of the critical importance of relationships and the process of relationship development. In this incisive discussion paper, Nailin Bu, associate professor of international business at Smith School of Business, discusses differences between Western and Chinese cultures. She offers practical tips on how to make acquaintances with businesspeople in China, how to deepen these relationships using common attributes, and how to practise reciprocity in a culturally sensitive manner.

In building your social network in China, Bu says, it is important to get these things right:

  • Be respectful of hierarchy. 
  • Be mindful of others and take good care of others. 
  • Exercise self-restraint. 
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