How To Make Agency-Client Relationships Work In China

    From a lack of transparency to not understanding "guanxi," experts weigh in on how to avoid mistakes in China's tricky business environment.
    China's marketing scene is fraught with many opportunities for miscommunication, from lack of transparency to not understanding guanxi. (Aston Martin)
    Jing DailyAuthor
      Published   in Retail

    Managing agency-client working relationships in China can be tricky for any business. From a lack of transparency to navigating guanxi, or personal connections, opportunities for miscommunication lurk at every corner.

    On this week’s episode of Thoughtful China, Telos Media Works Founder Alfonso de Dios and business relationship management company Aprais Greater China Chairman Royce Yuen discuss the pitfalls marketing agencies should avoid, and how to deal with damage-control should the need arise.

    One main thing to focus on when managing relationships in China is the culture, according to the experts. “Chinese culture is less confrontational,” says Yuen. “But when there’s a lack of direct, honest, and frequent dialogue, both sides lack the opportunity to look at what is working.” Learning to talk more and come up with joint solutions is a desirable value to have, he adds.

    But in the end, optimum relationships come when both sides take joint ownership of the project. Agencies should not be impeded in their work due to a client’s failure to share data or to make clear objectives, says de Dios, because good work from agencies benefits the client ultimately.

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