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How to develop guanxi to sell more seafood online

autoreBy Angus Boweron 27 Jul 2016

Guanxi, pronounced ‘gwan-shee’, is one of the most widely misunderstood aspects to doing business in China. A direct translation will tell you the word simply means ‘relationship’. But if you’re going to be selling seafood online successfully to Chinese buyers, you’ll want to know a little more than that.

Even though you’re selling your seafood to buyers in China online, there’s a fairly high chance that you won’t have the opportunity to interact with them face to face and the human relationship between seller and buyer is traditionally an integral part of Chinese business culture. While the online marketplace simplifies and makes trade with China much more secure, the element of guanxi is easy to be forgotten or missed out on.

So we’ve outlined exactly what guanxi is, so that in your further dealings with online Chinese seafood buyers, you can try and take some of the essential elements and implement them in your digital strategy.

What is guanxi?

It isn't just a relationship

It’s a bond of trust, reciprocated favours and reliability, and often isn’t just between two people, but a network of relationships that is built up with a lot of time and effort. It’s not uncommon for business partners with strong guanxi to socialise together and be so familiar that even money loans are made on the basis of their trust.

Why is guanxi important?

It's all about who you know

In the past, the law in China hasn’t necessarily been as reliable as in other parts of the world. So Chinese people developed, over hundreds of years, a need for trust amongst themselves in personal and business matters. This trust is the foundation for guanxi and governs business dealings, often being the most important part of starting or continuing any commercial interaction.

How do you develop guanxi?

And maintain it online

Having regular interactions with your Chinese buyers, both on personal and business levels, is a good way to develop guanxi. Also, by consistently supplying the high quality seafood that your online presence promotes, buyers will consider you more reliable. From this, your guanxi will grow, as those that trust you will influence others in their own guanxi networks.


So now that you’ve got the tools to start building your own online seafood guanxi, why not sign up to the online marketplace and get started?

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Gfresh team