Another little gem for the quoted and noted series..
James McGregor, author of “One Billion Customers”, has a lot of good advice in the “Little Red Book of Business” pages, including the following comment on “Guanxi”:
“Guanxi, the oft-cited Chinese word for relationships or connections, is overrated, temporary, nontransferable, and resides in the hands of the individual who has it. Never, ever put your business in the position where you are dependent on one individual for access to government officials.”
That advice rings very true in my experience, and it is a good idea to develop a broad base of support (from the bottom, up, as well as from the top, down), and to avoid being complacent about having secured “a great connection in Beijing”. Even with a powerful partner or advisor in place, anyone can be “kitto-ed” (i.e. screwed) on short notice.
And if the person doing the kittoing is the same person who has (your) guanxi (as in the Kitto case) , then you will be well and truly kitto-ed!
See “One Billion Customers”, and a selection of other China business books here.