The Chinese term guanxi (gwan-shee) literally translates as "connections," but that's somewhat of an oversimplification. In China, getting things accomplished is all about who is in your network and what kind of relationship you have with those individuals.
The husband of a woman I know reasonably well from taekwondo lost his job yesterday. He does IT-related stuff in the healthcare field. By the end of the day, one of the instructors had asked me and another woman from the class if we would ask our husbands to put his resume in at their respective healthcare firms. Unfortunately, Himself has no contacts in the right area.
There's a large extended family in our town: grandparents, two daughters, a son and a passel of grandkids. Thing One is a classmate of two of the grandsons'. I am on the school board with one of the sons-in-law and the grandmother. I've worked extensively on PTA stuff with one of the daughters. The son plows our driveway in the winter and does our tree work. And the son's oldest daughter is the same age as Petunia and has been in her class for two years now. In the course of carpooling and playdates, I've gotten to know the daughter-in-law pretty well too.
As it happens, the daughter-in-law works at the same company as my husband. In IT. I forwarded the résumé to her. Her response? "Not our group, but I know the guy who needs to see that. I'll send it over this week."
Guanxi in action, baby. Guanxi in action.