This is a post to introduce the concept of Guanxi and Mianzi. Chinese culture is founded on mutual trust, long standing relationships and trust and it is correct to assume China is somewhat sensitive.
Guanxi is similar to the western idea of ‘it’s not what you know it’s who you know’. In simple terms Guanxi is your connections with other people for which there are 3 different forms; Qinqi is your family members, Tongxue is your class mates and Tongshi is your work colleagues.
To build up a relationship using Guanxi you must begin small and build up to bigger favours. It is very important to return favours and you must maintain regular contact to maintain that relationship.
Mianzi is an essential concept that is loosely translated as ‘face’. At a basic level you need to ensure that all your actions and words convey a certain level of respect; occasional compliments or comments on achievements will go a long way.
Any actions or words that show disrespect to a person will cause them to lose face, saying that you don’t like something or highlighting any negative points about them or any situation linked to them will cause a loss of face. In essence, China is a very proud country so China should not be criticised in any direct manner.
Example – If someone asks you do you have any brothers or sisters? A good answer would be yes, but we don’t get along it must be great being an only child and having your parents full attention.
You need to provide an answer that doesnt cause them to be lessened by your answer, in this case because of the one child policy it would be disrespectful to brag about your great relationship with brothers and sisters.