Extending the literature on the Chinese concept of guanxi (i.e., close and pervasive interpersonal relationships) from traditional to online markets, we introduce the concept of swift guanxi, described as the buyer’s perception of a swiftly-formed interpersonal relationship with a focal seller that is based on mutual understanding, reciprocal favors, and relationship harmony. Longitudinal data from 338 buyers in China’s leading online marketplace – TaoBao.com – show that computer-mediated-communication tools (instant messaging, message box, feedback system) can mimic interactive face-to-face exchanges to build guanxi in online marketplaces to facilitate long-term relationships with sellers.
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