The concept of guanxi in China is based on people having common experiences or connections—being a classmate or a co-worker, coming from the same area, having mutual friends—through which they can network. As a tool for contact and communication, guanxi holds great value in Chinese society. Because guanxi often involves an exchange of favors it can occasionally result in corruption.
The concept of guanxi, or “social relationships,” is important in everyday Chinese life. Both individual and group interests are asserted via such relationships. There is a particular image of society behind this concept. Many Chinese see society in the first instance as a hierarchically structured order covered by an interlaced network of relationships. While a person’s outward appearance and behavior may be important for many Europeans, whom one knows and to which group or work unit one belongs are of consequence for many Chinese.