A matter of trust: how “guanxi” impacts your Chinese market sales
In China, relationships work on the basis of “guanxi,” often translated in English as a connection that is enhanced through networking based on a long duration of time. In short, “guanxi” is the trust that is built up through years. Although this word is mostly used to describe interpersonal relationships among the Chinese, this approach is transferred in the marketing realm, where trust is key to the message.
Many companies have failed to break into the Chinese market simply because they did not value trust between the buyers and themselves. Although the population highly value quality, this message can only be conveyed through promotions, where information displayed about the product can build up trust. As part of the marketing theory, there are 4Ps when addressing to customers (Price, Product, Promotion, Place), but according to researches, promotion carries a key role when marketing in China. The Chinese people are stimulated by information and they feel the need to understand how other product differs from yours.
Thus, trust is established through constant awareness and transmitting the right and proven information. The message of a promotion can be perceived as an equivalent of the networking aspect in “guanxi”, which means to make the product known.