The mystery of “guanxi” or 关系 in Chinese business

Guanxi (/gwanˈCHē/ or 关系) is a Chinese term that can describe many things, but in society it mostly points to “networking” or “relationships.” Perhaps in American terms, it could be summed up — at least in business terms — with the old adage “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” Let’s there are a few more critical nuances that make guanxi different from American networking. Continue reading below.

If you want to practice your guanxi building skills, check out our young professionals networking gathering on the evening of Wednesday, April 23. Click here to register for free or check out the event page on Facebook.

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Joint Ventures in China: The good might outweigh the bad, the ugly

For American businesses, the idea of a joint venture in China can be met with skepticism, but that shouldn’t be the case.

In fact, Gerard Baynham and Peregrine Worsthorne purport that more U.S.-China joint ventures could be quite beneficial in bolstering China’s middle class and closing the budget deficit for the U.S. government.

In their article U.S.-China joint ventures could be key to closing federal budget deficit, Baynham and Worsthorne discuss briefly the history of U.S.-China business and go on to give examples of successful joint ventures.

We’ll have our own example of a burgeoning U.S.-China joint venture at our April 18 China Executive Round Table. Learn more by clicking here.

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Letter from the Director — March’s End



Spring has sprung, allegedly, and as the weather warms up – again, allegedly – so goes the activity at the Chinese Chamber, rain or shine.

Earlier this week we held the first installment of a business luncheon series called Growing Your China Business, where Dezan Shira tax manager Sabrina Zhang flew from Beijing to give us the skinny on tax updates in China. She talked specifics on the changing tax laws coming from the central government that are meant to spur an economy based more on services than exports. Effectively, a deliberate and phased transition of tax reforms means a lower tax rate for many companies doing business in China. Sabrina left us her presentation document. If you would like to learn more, feel free to email me.

 Members and guests from March 25′s Growing Your China Business luncheon

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What to Expect — Tuesday’s Business Luncheon

Tuesday, March 25, from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm the Chinese Chamber will hold its first business luncheon of the year. It’s the first part of a three-part seminar on China’s regulations and best practices, presented by Dezan Shira & Associates. You should register right now if you want to do some business networking and you’re free for lunch Tuesday. Keep reading for more information about our new member, Dezan Shira, and the location of Tuesday’s lunch.

Click Here to Register

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The China Challenge: Keeping Informed on Ever-changing Regulations

In their annual report released recently, the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai found that the biggest challenge to their survey respondents — mostly small- and medium-sized American enterprises — found rising costs, HR challenges and an ever-changing regulatory environment to be their biggest challenges. Further, the best way to overcome these profit-leaching obstacles is to stay informed.

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2014 Board of Directors and Officers

The Greater Cincinnati Chinese Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has so far been set for 2014.

This year’s board members, the organization they represent and their statuses are as follows (LinkedIn profiles linked to names where possible):

  • Chairwoman Hui-Jiang Saldana, Mercy Health and Catholic Health Partners
  • Chairman-Elect Michael Kou, Growth By Export
  • Vice Chairwoman Louisa Luk, Green Energy Enterprises
  • Treasurer Julie Hagen, Barnes Dennig
  • Alan Warner, Warner Architect Firm
  • Anita Haefner, DHL Express
  • Daniel Brockdorf, Horsehoe Casino
  • David Le, Lang Thang Group
  • Heather Quinley, Duke Energy
  • Lawrence Gales, University of Cincinnati (scheduled for replacement by the university)
  • Membership Committee Chairman Marty Wilz, Sur-Seal
  • Marvin Bai, Deloitte & Touche (pending board approval to replace Ning Zhang at March 19 meeting)
  • Matthew Schottelkotte, GBBN Architects
  • Pei Zhang, Frost Brown Todd
  • Reuben Shaffer, Kroger (pending board approval at March 19 meeting)

Letter from the Director — February’s End

Letter from the Director

We’re a whole month into the Year of the Horse now and a lot of people have asked about our 2014 Lunar New Year Gala. From a fundraising standpoint, it was certainly on par with tradition, thanks to our sponsors and loyal members. We ran a survey after the event and the response was positive. We also received some great ideas for next year’s event. All in all, it was up to historical standard, but there’s room to improve and we intend to fill that space.

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The Times They Are a-Changin’

Bob Dylan wrote and recorded a now famous song called The Times They Are a-Changin’ as an anthem to express the changes going on in the early 1960s. Just as his song served as history of the changes, so too does this blog post serve as post of change, although on a much smaller scale.

The Greater Cincinnati Chinese Chamber of Commerce moved Feb. 3 from its location at the Barnes Dennig offices — 150 E. 4th St. Third Floor — to offices down the street at 1106 Race St. Suite 2. Please make note of the change.

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What to Expect for the 2014 Lunar New Year Gala

The phones have been ringing off the hook today. The excitement for our grand event is really building. We have more than 200 people scheduled to attend our grand extravaganza.

Here’s what you can expect:

  • The casino has plenty of free parking. You can find more information on parking at their web site. They also have valet parking if you’re feeling swanky. It costs a little extra though.
  • In fact, you probably will be feeling swanky because the dress code for the event is business and cocktail attire. Gentlemen, feel free to add some flair with a pocket square. Ladies, you already know what to do.
  • The gala is on the second floor, the ballroom floor. Once you make it to the floor, you can’t miss us. Make sure to visit the registration desk.
  • If you can’t make the event at 5:30 pm, you’ll want to at least get there before 6:15 pm. That’s when the grand opening to the ceremony will begin, followed by dinner, and you definitely don’t want to miss dinner.
  • We have two cash bars staffed by four bartenders.
  • Although we have a mobile point-of-sale for credit cards, I suggest bringing cash for the auction. We have a lot of quality items going for cheap.
  • Business networking is a major part of the event: We have manufacturers, small business, large corporations, government, lawyers, doctors and attorneys attending; just to name a few.

If you have more questions, give us a call at 513-852-4100. You can also email Evan Brooks, executive director, at ed@china-midwest.com or Angie Li, events marketing specialist, at ali@china-midwest.com. We’ll see you there!