Adopting big data to create an “outside-in” global perspective of guanxi

Liane W. Y. LEE*, Piyush SHARMA, Bradley R. BARNES

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Previous research on the Chinese notion of guanxi has tended to use descriptive approaches to study its prevalence and influence on business and Chinese consumers. Relatively less research has focused on perceptions of guanxi in other parts of the world. This paper addresses this important research gap through adopting an “outside-in” global perspective using big data. In particular, the study draws on 162 million guanxi-related news articles during 2017–2020 extracted from the Global Database of Events, Language and Tone (GDELT), an open-source, real-time current affairs repository of online news and event metadata. The findings reveal that guanxi is heavily influenced by geopolitical and public health issues. The study also discovered a major contrast in the overall tone between China, being slightly positive, and the US and Germany, being largely negative, with the association varying according to changes in the marketing ecosystem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)614-628
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Business Research
Early online date18 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

All data and visual outputs are obtained from the GDELT Project

Publisher Copyright: © 2021 Elsevier Inc.


  • Big data
  • Business-to-business relationships
  • Ecosystem
  • Guanxi
  • Outside-in marketing


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