Guanxi and Litigation in the Current Chinese Market: A Perspective from Law and Society Scholarship

  • Piero BolognaEmail author
Part of the Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice book series (IUSGENT, volume 77)


This chapter aims at addressing the role of informal contract law in the current Chinese society; its main focus is to provide an analysis of the role of “guanxi” (so called “relations”) in the phase of negotiations of a “B2B contract” involving a foreign company on one side and a Chinese company on the other. After an overview of the main characteristics of guanxi (Sect. 1), this contribution continues with an examination of the Chinese contracting mechanism using the “lens” of law and society scholarship (Sect. 2); it then provides some recent trends noticed by business players acting within the Chinese market. Section 3 is focused on what happens when “things go wrong” and guanxi is no longer useful as a tool to resolve or “amicably consult” (using a Sino-English expression) a potential claim or a potential dispute arising between the contracting parties. The conclusions drawn could be used as a “trans-cultural” instrument to analyze the current Chinese market and its possible future trends.


Chinese law Chinese contract law Guanxi Law and society Litigation 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Partners4InnovationMilanItaly

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