Evolution of Guanxi within Chinese Large-scale Exhibition Service Market.

Yehui Hu

Contact: yh7684i@gre.ac.uk

This research focuses on the evolution of Guanxi within the context of an internationally exposed industry: Chinese large-scale exhibition service bidding. The project investigates the development of business networks in the context of economic liberalization and whether the significance of Guanxi has decreased in an internationally exposed industry - the exhibition industry. It aims to explore the evolution of Guanxi in China within large-scale exhibition service firms. In previous research on Guanxi, most researchers have focused on a static, dyadic conceptualization of Guanxi. By contrast, this research will explore dynamic network approaches to Guanxi networks. In China, the surrounding social structures are often nepotistic in nature, therefore Guanxi has been seen as a very important strategy in China business networks. However, due to the growing market economy and China market transition (due to economic liberalization), the traditional business network in China is becoming exposed to international business practices. Based on this situation, this project investigates whether Guanxi still can be a crucial factor in the China market. This research also tackles three key research questions on the evolution of Guanxi; How do Chinese business Guanxi networks evolve under social network concepts over time? How has the significance of Guanxi changed in the Chinese exhibition industry? How do Guanxi networks evolve with different industries internationally-expose? In order to address these questions, data from semi-structured interviews will be utilized (target to two different type interviewees: business intermediary professionals and participants from the marketing and sales department in exhibition companies). I will draw on methods from social network analysis to tackle the research questions; more specifically an analysis of the closure, structural holes, brokerage and small-world features of the Guanxi network in the exhibition industry will be provided.

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