This paper contributes to our understanding of xinren within buyer-seller relationships. Xinren is often translated to trust and is critical for the development of strong business relationships. Previous conceptualizations and measurements of xinren have been inconsistent and questionable. Through a novel methodology, prototyping analysis, this research outlines a foundational structure for xinren. A series of 4 studies were conducted on xinren in buyer-seller relationships in China involving a total of 311 participants who were employed in sourcing and procurement (33.23%) or marketing and sales (31.29%), and had spent less than one year working outside China. Central prototypical features include high arousal emotions highlighting the importance of affect-based aspects when developing xinren. Negative features indicate that both trust and distrust may be synergistically operating within xinren. Contributions are also made by outlining both universal trust features and more culturally-nuanced trust features. Suggestions for managers indicate how both Eastern and Western partners may use these results to build deeper trust within their relationships. Future research includes undertaking further prototyping analysis on trust within other cultures to develop foundational structures that may include both universal and culturally-nuanced trust features.