Guanxi-charactersMike Southern, in his weekly column for entrepreneurs, says the best way to improve your guanxi is to always treat people like you would want to be treated, to help people wherever possible and to always tell the truth. Guanxi is a Chinese word that equates to well-being and true status.

Money is what you have in your bank account, Mr Southern says. Wealth is what you have if your money suddenly vanishes: your knowledge, your reputation and network.

For local retailers, as with all business people, these are useful ideas to benchmark what you are doing. Don’t just think of it in terms of shoppers that visit your stores. Think of it also in terms of your suppliers and competitors.