On the afternoon of June 28, 2019, Ronald Burt, the Hobart W. Williams Professor of Sociology and Strategy at the University of Chicago, delivered a lecture on Network Advantages of Chinese Entrepreneurs: Warlords, Brokers and Guanxi.
Professor Burt’s study on the competitive advantage of Chinese entrepreneurs' networks was based on his long-term observation of China. He found that many Chinese entrepreneurs succeeded and were very profitable in the past three decades while some failed. A key difference between successful and unsuccessful people is "guanxi (social networking)". Through data analysis of the business activities of entrepreneurs, in the Yangtze River delta region of China, he found that the smaller the network, the more profit was earned. He also discussed the role of guanxi among Chinese entrepreneurs. By comparing Chinese entrepreneurs with European and American managers, he discussed how social networks create competitive advantages in innovative activities. In conclusion, he offered an innovative idea: guanxi also exists in European and American business networks.