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This paper illustrates how the performance of manufacturer-distributor partnerships can be improved from a knowledge-based perspective in the Chinese context. The multiple case study shows that two flows of knowledge contribute to the performance of partnerships through improving the joint activities of the partners. The flow of knowledge from manufacturers to distributors is product- oriented. This flow of knowledge supports the distributors' understanding of the products and motivates their initiative in marketing activities. The flow of knowledge from distributors to manufacturers is market- and customer- oriented. This flow of knowledge supports the product improvement of the manufacturers and facilitates the collaboration between two partners. The main obstacles of the knowledge transfer are cultural differences. Trust and open communication are two facilitators in the process of knowledge transfer.