The emergence of Chinese entrepreneurs: social connections and innovation

Shuanping Dai, Yuanyuan Wang, Yang Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This paper aims to explore empirically the emergence of entrepreneurs in China’s transition context since the 1980s. Design/methodology/approach: This paper applies the China Private Enterprises Survey Database and historical evidence and Chi-Square test to identify the emergence patterns of China’s entrepreneurs in different historical stages. Findings: This longitudinal study finds that factors such as working experience, education background and social connection had strong influences on entrepreneurship, but the impact of these have varied significantly along with institutional changes over the past three decades. It also identifies that the majority of emergent entrepreneurs were formerly low-level public servants and high-qualified managers in state-owned enterprises. Additionally, significant trends including an increasing number of female entrepreneurs, a decreasing impact from political networks, improving investment in innovation and diversifying financial sources are also found. Originality/value: This paper is the first to apply the Chinese Private Enterprises Survey database to investigate the emergence patterns of China’s entrepreneurs in different historical stages after the 1978 reform.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-368
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese entrepreneurs
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Innovation
  • Social connections

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