Aug 21, 2013

Last year I took my son with me to China on a business trip.
As we were walking the streets of Shanghai, a man approached us, pointed at my son, and then held out his camera to me. He wanted me to take a picture of him with my son.

Sean (my son) is at least 6′ 3″, 230 pounds; a caucasion of that size is probably something of a novelty there (although westerners visiting China is surely not).

In the U.S. if someone approached us with such a request we’d immediately put our guard up. “Who are you? What’s your motive? Is my picture going to end up on Facebook or on a bizarre website somewhere?”

In general I’ve found Chinese hospitality to be very accomodating. When I’m there, they bend over backwards to help and will often host a meal at no cost to the visitor. In fact there’s been many times where I offered to pay but they declined.

These people aren’t just my business associates, they’re my friends.
That’s what guanxi is all about. Doing business in China is all about relationships.

On the streets of Shanghai

On the streets of Shanghai