Guanxi and Chinese brand loyalty

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Chinese, Grounded theory, Brand loyalty, Financial services, Guanxi, Mianzi, Track: Consumer behaviour


This exploratory study examined how brand loyalty can be established in a non-Western market where Chinese customers are motivated to be loyal to a brand by cultural drivers, specifically guanxi (personal relationships) and mianzi (face). The brand loyalty of Chinese customers for financial products in Hong Kong and mainland China was investigated using a qualitative, grounded theory approach. Nine semi-structured, indepth interviews were conducted with three expert interviewees. The results demonstrate that companies can cement client loyalty through using guanxi as an attitudinal trait to secure introductions in a buyer-seller relationship. Sellers strive to join a client’s guanxi network and then accumulate credit for offering good value and showing respect. They trade favours and later call in debts. This has been one of the first studies to use grounded theory to investigate the influence of key Chinese cultural attributes on brand loyalty to financial products.

Source Publication

ANZMAC conference, 2014 Dec 1-3, Brisbane, Australia. Proceedings

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