The practice of market research in China faces both challenges experienced in other developing markets and socio-cultural constraints unique to China. This paper provides an overview of the development and growth of the market research industry in China with a focus specifically on recent growth of B2B (business-to-business) research. Interviews with research professionals show that B2B research, is impacted by an inherent aversion among Chinese to share information outside of trusted networks. Interviews confirm that guanxi, an intricate Chinese personal network system, assists the B2B research process, specifically in recruiting high level experts and business professionals for primary research purposes. Further use of guanxi can positively impact data reliability. A brief review of the study of social capital and guanxi is also provided to show how guanxi is developed and applied to business transactions in China, including those of the market research industry.
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