Chinese entrepreneurship and small business development: An overview and research agenda

Jun Li, Harry Matlay

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - This paper aims to focus on three main strands of research relating to entrepreneurship in China: the role of local governments in the development of entrepreneurial activities in town and village-based enterprises (TVEs); institutional environments and strategic responses of private firms; and culture and its impact on entrepreneurship. It aims to suggest a tentative research agenda and offer directions for further research. Design/methodology/approach - The paper employs a critical review approach to research on entrepreneurship and small business development in China. Findings - It is suggested that the combination of local entrepreneurial state theory with an analysis of the institutional environment at the macro level offers plausible explanations on the causes, context and extent of Chinese entrepreneurship development during the past two decades. The paper argues that existing theories need to be revised on a continuous basis, as ongoing reforms and developments redefine relationships between stakeholders and the wider economic environment in China. Originality/value - The paper reviews progress to date and offers suggestions for further research. It posits that topics of future interest could include the changing relationship between stakeholders in both rural and urban areas, the impact of increasingly institutionalised environments on entrepreneurship and small business development, and longitudinal analyses of emerging models of entrepreneurial behaviour and growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-262
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Small Business and Enterprise Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes


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