Guanxi & Mianzi
Connection and Face
As far as Chinese business etiquette or mindset is concerned, two words often spring to mind:
- Guanxi and
The first may be translated as 'social connections', and the second, ‘face keeping’.
If you are interacting with Chinese, or doing business in China, you must have an understanding what the two words imply, because:
- they are so much part of the culture and code of conduct that people expect that you appreciate their importance
- they can be quite different from the ways things are done from the international points of view. The implication for 'social connection', for example, can be very different from the notion of social networking that the Western world is familiar with
Of course, as China is getting more and more internationalized, things are changing! The younger generations especially are being assimilated by the international business culture.
Due to the deep rooted influence of the Chinese traditional thinking --including Confucianism and Taoism -- however, the conventional Chinese mindset is still very much alive.
As a foreigner, although you can be excused for not knowing them, having some knowledge and showing appreciation of their importance definitely help, and would make you more effective.
It will help you to anticipate expectations, making activities like business negotiation, entertainment and gift exchange easier to manage.
Read more about guanxi.
Read more about mianzi.
Read more about Chinese mindset.
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