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The New Social Currency in China’s Financial Industry: Guandan + Maotai

The Chinese card game “Guandan” has rapidly gained popularity nationwide since last year, posing a threat to golf and Texas Hold’em poker as the new “social currency” of China’s financial industry. Such scenes have emerged as financial securities firms giving “Guandan gift boxes” to clients, fund companies organizing Guandan tournaments, private equity and venture capital firms studying Guandan books and skill guides, and industry leaders playing Guandan games at gatherings.

In the past, China’s financial industry was closely intertwined with the US dollar, and social activities largely revolved around western activities such as golf or playing Texas Hold’em poker and drinking red wine. Nowadays, however, foreign sources of funding have largely dried up, and availability of domestic private capital is decreasing too. Financial professionals in China are therefore forced to turn to the government for funding. Since Chinese government officials enjoy playing the game “Guandan,” mastering this game has become critical for Chinese financial professionals.

With the industry drifting towards a “Guandan + Maotai liquor” model, Shanghai has even established a Guandan Sports Association. Originating from Huai’an, Jiangsu Province, “Guandan” is a four-player card game played with two decks of cards, where players form teams of two and must use higher-ranking card combinations to suppress opponents, with the winner being the first to deplete their hand of cards, followed by scoring and ranking up.

Source: Epoch Times, January 29, 2024