The value of Guanxi for small vegetable farmers in China

Lu Hualiang, J.H. Trienekens, S.W.F. Omta, Shuyi Feng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - Following a guanxi value ¿ buyer-seller relationship quality - marketing behaviour scheme, this paper aims to explore how traditional guanxi supports small vegetable farmers in modern markets in China. Design/methodology/approach - Fieldwork was performed in Jiangsu Province, PR China. A stratified random sample of 167 vegetable farmers provided data for empirical testing with partial least squares analysis. Findings - The findings suggested that the value of guanxi networks is an antecedent to buyer-seller relationship quality and marketing behaviour in China. Guanxi networks improve the quality of buyer-seller relationships in terms of interpersonal trust and satisfaction. Buyer-seller relationships influence smallholders' transaction relationships, their participation in modern markets and choice for formal contracts. Guanxi networks not only support Chinese small-scale vegetable farmers to get access to modern high-value markets (e.g. supermarkets and international markets), but also encourage informal transactions in the vegetable business. Practical implications - Guanxi networks play a critical role in the modern marketing environment in China. Marketing strategies based on personal relationships should be further enhanced in order to increase participation of smallholders in modern markets. Originality/value - Quantitative evaluation of the effects of the Chinese cultural embedded concept of guanxi in the Chinese agrifood sector fills in an important research gap
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-430
JournalBritish Food Journal
Issue number4/5
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • business-to-business
  • structural equation models
  • relationship quality
  • trust
  • satisfaction
  • performance
  • impact
  • perspective
  • technology
  • culture


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