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China was portrayed as a predominantly state-owned economy driven by large-scale enterprises, some of which held near- monopoly advantages in industries that were largely closed to non-state companies.

Self-Perceptions

For sure, the state economy played, and continues to play, a critical role in the Chinese economy. But the western media had for a long time almost completely ignored the other side of the Chinese economy, the growing private sector and rising group of entrepreneurs.


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These entrepreneurs typically had little to no access to knowledge of modern business management. Some even lacked post-secondary education. At the time, they were pioneers who were remarkably bold to start their own businesses. This was a rather speculative move that required great courage. At this time, these people were considered foolish by many for leaving these highly desired positions of stability and prosperity.

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Internet entrepreneurs started to emerge in the mid to late Contemporary giants Alibaba , Tencent and Baidu were formed shortly thereafter. The bursting of the first internet bubble took out a fair number of Chinese internet companies, but soon thereafter, the growth of internet industry resumed and gained momentum. The number of entrepreneurs grew again throughout the s.

Leaders from Xiaomi, JD. Apart from the internet and mobile technology sectors, many entrepreneurs started appearing in other industries: energy, healthcare, financial services, consumer, retail among others, where businesses were increasingly intertwined with the rapid growth of science and technology.

Thanks to the increasing visibility of ultra-wealthy tech entrepreneurs, such as Jack Ma of Alibaba and Robin Li of Baidu, entrepreneurship is becoming an increasingly acceptable and desirable career path. As a result of the dynamics of the Chinese entrepreneurial ecosystem and the unique profile of those who start businesses in China, entrepreneurship takes a different form there than in Western economies. The Chinese version has three key components. Du points out that Chinese entrepreneurs often start with Western-inspired products that fill local market needs but, after many iterative loops and localization, the end product differs significantly from the Western inspiration.

Companies that only copy existing models are likely to fail. Second, Chinese entrepreneurs have a deep knowledge of life in China and can identify unmet needs of the Chinese economy. With the Great Firewall and other government interventions, Chinese markets remain relatively closed to the rest of the world. Nevertheless, Chinese citizens continue to find ways to circumvent barriers and procure ideas from abroad, creating pent-up demand for goods and services ranging from vitamins to Facebook.

Successful entrepreneurs flock to fill these gaps. Finally, Chinese entrepreneurs carefully consider the role of government intervention. To avoid unpredictable policy changes, some entrepreneurs choose to enter regulation-light sectors. Like foreign multinational corporations, Chinese entrepreneurs see tremendous opportunity in China. Discussions with entrepreneurs and early-stage investors revealed three sectors that will likely see increased entrepreneurial activity in the near-term:.

High Tech: In , China had the largest number of Internet users in the world at million, compared to million in the U. There is tremendous demand for high-tech services, but the current supply in China is deficient. For this reason, many Chinese entrepreneurs and investors enter this sector. Favorable demographics, combined with low up-front capital investment and relatively minimal government intervention, explain the explosive growth of this sector. Health Care: One of the key societal issues China faces is its aging population.

Chinese Entrepreneurship in a Global Era: 1st Edition (Paperback) - Routledge

Within the next few years, the country is expected to have more than million adults over age 60, compared to million today — all of whom will require medical care, facilities, and treatments. The market capitalization of Chinese to U. Realizing the need to improve the quality and increase the quantity of health care in China, the government deregulated the sector, thereby inviting entrepreneurs to enter and close the gaps in basic infrastructure and services.

Renewable Energy: Despite the recent tumble of the Chinese solar and wind-manufacturing sectors, renewable energy remains an opportunity for growth. It was first identified as a strategic industry in the 10th Five-year Plan of and has continued to be a focus of the government as a way to satisfy the growing demand for energy and simultaneously minimize environmental impact.

Entrepreneurs still see an opportunity to ride this policy trend, but have shifted focus to less-crowded verticals within the sector, such as water treatment, lighting, gas-fire generation, and environmental services.

China's 7 Lessons for Entrepreneurs 🇨🇳

As China enters what could be a significant economic slowdown in , there are a number of indications that the role of its entrepreneurs will expand. It agreed to slash tariffs and lower trade barriers to telecommunications , the financial sector and a host of other industries.

How Other Cultures Think of Entrepreneurship

It agreed to curb subsidies. In the bargain, China got what it wanted, paving the way for a global trading colossus. Investment poured into the country. Global manufacturers moved entire operations to China, while consumers around the world got cheaper tools, toys and phones. By , orders were 10 times what they had been in He made enough money to buy a car, a Volkswagen. Three apartments followed, all purchased without mortgages. Zhu said. Beijing has kept its iron grip on critical levers of the economy. It has been slow to meet commitments to open up key parts of its financial system , while other essential areas like telecommunications remain cut off.

It has continued to nurture businesses aimed at meeting its technological and political goals, like high-speed rail and solar panels. Cheap Chinese goods ushered in a new era of low prices, upending industries from textile mills in South Carolina to circuit board manufacturers in Japan and fashion designers in Italy.

O ne study suggested that, between and , Chinese imports eliminated one million American manufacturing jobs, plus more in other industries.

China’s Economy Became No. 2 by Defying No. 1

Trump said at a campaign appearance in , four months before he was elected president. As the global financial system tottered in , an influential Chinese leader chastised Henry M.


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The leader, Wang Qishan, was among the first Chinese officials to soak in the lessons of the free market evangelists. But he told Mr. Paulson that China had perhaps listened to the West long enough. Wang said, according to Mr. Nobody was unscathed by the global financial crisis. Washington bailed out Wall Street and Detroit, then its efforts slowed to a crawl as a new president, Barack Obama, clashed with Congress over the size of a stimulus package.

Europe also fell into squabbling as individual countries fell into crisis, creating cracks in the union. While China withstood the initial shock, the ripples threatened to become devastating. Exports plunged and economic growth slowed as foreign markets dried up. Factories began to lay off workers. Later, economists at the World Bank would estimate that as many as 36 million Chinese workers had lost their jobs.

It called for building rail lines, highways, power lines and other big infrastructure projects across the country. Then it began to lend.

State-run companies were told to build and invest, and local government officials were told to help them. In some ways, China was well positioned for this moment. Early in its embrace of capitalism, it recognized the treasure it had in the savings of its people. Because the government controlled the banking system, it could force banks to extend mercy to troubled borrowers or simply roll over their loans at more agreeable terms.

It could ignore the advice of global investors and institutions, like the International Monetary Fund, that preached open markets and austerity, sometimes to disastrous results.

China also kept money from leaving the country. It put limits on how much people could move overseas and kept a tight grip on the value of its currency, the renminbi. The contrast between China and the rest of the world was stark. Beijing moved swiftly — and its growth was the rare bright spot in the global economy. Nicholas R. More than a quarter-century after Deng Xiaoping used his southern tour to get Chinese reform back on track, Xi Jinping followed on a mission of his own. Like Deng, he visited start-ups, inspected their work and gabbed with factory employees.

He visited an appliance company and an auto parts plant, praising the role of small businesses in the Chinese economy. Xi told a group at an exhibition center celebrating decades of reform. So far, Mr. While Deng dragged the Chinese economy further out of the clutches of state control, Mr. Xi has been pulling it back. Despite calls to rein in debt, he has kept the money flowing.