The big family: informal financing of small- and medium-sized businesses by Guanxi

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Guanxi facilitates interaction between companies and people in Confucian societies. Does this type of social construct still play the key role, when the entrepreneurs live in Western societies? The objective of this article is to verify the impact of Guanxi on the capacity of small and medium-sized businesses accessing financial resources informally. To this end, data collected from small Chinese entrepreneurs active in the principal business center of Brazil were used. From nonparametric tests, the results suggest that: (1) different levels of Guanxi allow small and medium-sized businesses to access informal financial resources; (2) different types of informal financing are mostly used, or judged to be more significant, depending on the level of Guanxi of the entrepreneur in terms of parental and nonfamily ties; and (3) unlike the Western literature on the financial cycles of start-ups, this type of informal financing can extend beyond the initial stage of the business.

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