As mentioned in a previous post, building guanxi should be a regular activity for any executive in China.
Welcome to the Party!
The role of an executive in China is much more social than may be the case in the West. Opportunities to interact with clients outside the office environment should always be welcomed and sought-out. Executives should always be alert to opportunities to make some contributions to their business partner (clients, suppliers, government officials, etc.) counterparts.
As guanxi becomes established it should not be surprising to be asked for certain assistance, and executives should always seek ways in which to meet the request – if not fully, then at least partially even in cases where there is no clear immediate business benefit.
True guanxi is a very powerful tool in the executive’s toolbox. But it takes years, decades or a lifetime to fully develop. Keep in mind that individuals – not the corporation, hold any existing guanxi that may be of benefit to a corporation. The trend for corporations to “rotate” new executives into a region for 3-4 year assignments is not conducive at all to long-term development of guanxi.