News from Cass Business School

Looking for success in China? It's all about the right Guanxi

Dr Lanzolla discusses the correct strategy for western business in China.

Wednesday, 14 July, 2010

A recent report from Goldman Sachs speculated that China’s economy could be as large as that of the US by 2027 so it’s no surprise that western businesses are increasingly looking to move into the region. However, many do so without fully understanding the differing business culture of China.
Speaking at Cass’s China Symposium, Dr Gianvito Lanzolla, Reader in Strategy at Cass, explained that organisations often treat China as a homogenous market when in fact it’s actually more akin to a continent with a large number of disparate cultures and communities.
Another common mistake is to start 'too big' without the required 'Guanxi', or personal networks of influence that are the foundation of Chinese culture. Local knowledge is vital but often the local workforce does not have the right skill set, especially if the company engages in highly technical processes. For this reason Dr Lanzolla believes companies should start with small or niche operations and build their operations in a measured and organic way.
You can hear Dr Lanzolla's thoughts in full on this week's Cass Talks. The Cass Talks interviews are an opportunity to hear Cass faculty and guest lecturers give their perspective on current business and finance news stories, global issues affecting the business world and new research coming out of the School.
Listen, watch and download Dr Lanzolla’s Cass Talks and see other Cass academics share their opinions at

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