Most expat managers need a strong support network in Shanghai - local partners to teach you the ins and outs of an alien culture; old industry hands to help you navigate an unfamiliar marketplace; or friends whose shoulders you will need to cry on if your plans go awry.
However, for an expatriate manager who has just landed in a foreign country, assembling your support structure can also be one of the hardest challenges you will face. Thankfully, there are many ways to network in Shanghai. You won’t have any problem finding an event to go any day of the week. The need of guanxi has become almost an obsession for local and foreign businessman alike. But don’t confuse this concept with the notion of networking, since it has a deeper meaning and a set of rules. A Chinese stresses the importance of personal relationship for doing business a lot more that we are used in western countries. These networking events aren’t a way to build guanxi; they are only a first step to meeting someone suitable to establish this connection. The development of a good guanxi is slow and expensive, but it improves dramatically the chances of success in any business. Keep in mind that you mustn’t build the relationship just before the deal - it should be already consolidated in that moment - and having a frequent contact is the only way to keep the door open to future business.
You can always join or participate in the organizations listed below.
One of the best ways to meet fellow expatriates is to contact the myriad of specialized clubs throughout the city. Many are shown in this section. There are over 100 expat clubs in Shanghai. For a full and up-to-date list, look here: http://shanghai.asiaxpat.com/directory/expat-associations-general-info/clubs-associations/