I was reading this Stratfor piece on Guanxi called "China: Guanxi and Corporate Security" and it was something puzzling so maybe somebody can explain it to me.
Wikipedia defines "Guanxi" it as "basic dynamic in personalized networks of influence" (here), while Stratfor says "many U.S. and other Western businesses, however, simply regard guanxi as corruption."
It seems like this thing has some pretty darn peculiar security implications ... especially this part of the Stratfor piece: "Chinese business ethics, however, are built on the basis of guanxi, which places relationships above other considerations, including an employer’s code of conduct and even the law. The idea that taking a job with a company, particularly a non-Chinese company, cancels obligations toward people with whom someone has long-term relationships and to whom one owes much guanxi is seen not only as alien but also as the essence of immorality."
UPDATE: more discussion of this here.