If you are new in Beijing, want to start a business but have no connections at all, there are some good ways to get to know people, especially other foreigners doing business in China.

If you prefer staying at home (probably you are some IT-guy), you can become member of some networks online, for example linked-in or xing.com (but if you like staying at home, you probably should not do business?).

If you like meeting people, you can also visit networking events organized by Chambers, embassies or business clubs (I admit, I never visited a business club, but some friends did). Those networking events are often open for non members, for a small entry fee (in embassies, it is often free and you even get a free drink).

Some websites, where you can find events:
http://www.bencham.org (which proudly annouces on it’s website, that t is growing at a rate of 10 members a month).

Guanxi (good relationships) are not only important when doing business with Chinese, but it is also important to keep up good relationships with other foreign business men. In China, foreigners usually all encounter the same problems while doing business with Chinese companies and they are all searching for new business opportunties and useful contacts. So it is easy to get new contacts, collect a lot of business cards (never go to a networking event with less than 50 business cards in your pocket), probably in one year, you will remember a guy, you once met and can now be helpful.