Roughly every two weeks, Mingxi must join her colleagues after work for drinks, something she dreads doing. After all, it's not just about grabbing a few pints at the corner pub. Instead, it's often a drawn-out affair involving forced smiles with clients and formal toasting etiquette - and she never feels comfortable. "I always worry that things can get out of hand, even though I'm quite good at holding my drink," the 26-year-old Guangzhou-based public relations consultant told the BBC. "Sometimes, people make inappropriate sexual jokes, and I have to pretend to find them funny."
Mingxi is not going by her real name as she did not want her identity revealed. Her experience is shared by other young Chinese workers who feel pressured into attending such events, in a country where building "guanxi" - or personal relationships - is key to securing business deals and good standing in the eyes of upper management.