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Guanxi is the key to doing business in China

That’s what all the books said, and I was intrigued by the idea that guanxi – relationships – is the absolutely fundamental thing, the starting point, for anyone who planned to do business in China. I didn’t really understand how this was different from doing business in the West, and I didn’t have any special advantages in doing business in China. I did not speak the language. I’m female. And I have a small publishing company, not a glamorous clothing brand or a big engineering operation. But my interest in relationships, networking, and community made me more attuned than most to the concept of guanxi. I also thought that relationships might give me an advantage – an advantage I would need, competing with much larger firms.

I did something very simple: I went to China whenever I could, spend time talking to people, asked a lot of questions, and stayed in touch over the years.

Now, as we sign new agreements and start another phase of Berkshire’s China-focused publishing, I am looking forward to learning about the growth in Chinese direct investment in the United States. Tomorrow, May 20th, the National Committee on US-China Relations will be releasing a report on FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) by US congressional district. Chinese investment is a possibility for Berkshire Publishing, just as it is for many other companies, and I plan to be at the forefront, exploring how we can work together and learn from one another – and, naturally, increase our guanxi.

Here’s information about the public program in New York:¬†

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