This is a case study of the cross-ethnicization and globalization of an ethnic food by entrepreneurial Korean Chinese. Korean Chinese (also referred to as Joseonjok or Chaoxianzu) in China came from a strong agricultural background with little tradition of commerce and no tradition of consuming lamb meat. However, when Xinjiang-style barbecue-lamb skewers were introduced to their community in the early 1980s, Korean Chinese fell in love with this exotic food. Soon, Korean Chinese entrepreneurs began opening their own barbecue-lamb-skewer restaurants. Within the next two decades, they transformed this humble street food into a luxurious gourmet food through various innovative measures. They also globalized the barbecue-lamb-skewer business by expanding it to other cities in China, South Korea, Japan, the United States and beyond. Based on fieldwork conducted in Korean Chinese communities in China, South Korea and Japan, we found that their transnational coethnic networks were the key behind this intriguing success in ethnic entrepreneurialism. This paper explores how the Korean Chinese developed their transnational coethnic networks, and how these networks contributed to this formerly non-coethnic lamb-skewer business.
This article analyses business transitions among Chinese immigrant entrepreneurs in France during the Covid-19 pandemic. Drawing on a historical overview of the development of ethnic Chinese businesses over the last century and an empirical study carried out in five different industrial sectors (import and export, retail, catering, hotel, and tobacco) of the French economy, we examine what challenges these entrepreneurs have faced during the pandemic, what strategies they have adopted in response to these challenges, and what has enabled them to shift business patterns and commercial practices in this unprecedented situation. Our findings show that the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the transition of Chinese immigrant entrepreneurship in France, from offline operations to digital business. However, the pandemic may not be the direct cause of this business transition; rather, it has created unique conditions which facilitate the transition. Before the pandemic, some Chinese entrepreneurs had already made or partially made the transition to “integrating online and offline businesses,” “hiring beyond Chinese ethnic networks,” and “paying attention to the local country’s policy directions,” which helped them greatly reduce the negative impacts of the pandemic. During the pandemic, two unprecedented business opportunities were opened up: “fostering local production” and “seeking low-risk sectors,” which some Chinese entrepreneurs have proactively pursued since April/May 2020. These may be the new trends for Chinese entrepreneurs in France in the future. Theoretically, our study suggests that business transitions among Chinese entrepreneurs in France need to be examined beyond the framework of pure economic rationality, taking into consideration the intersection of new dynamics of Chinese migration into host country and the cross-cultural, cross-institutional, cross-thinking, and cross-border social engagement of the entrepreneurs themselves before, during, and after the pandemic.
In the digital age of migration, Chinese migrant entrepreneurial activities are increasingly undertaken online. Drawing on a case study of e-commerce developed by Chinese marriage-migrant women in Taiwan, this article investigates the digitized and emotional dimensions of entrepreneurship. It examines Chinese women’s innovative use of the online social media platform WeChat in developing transnational networks and virtual commercial circuits to achieve their economic goals while adapting to their new host society. It considers the role of the emotions in business formation and in the commercialization of “contested” commodities whose circulations transgress trading rules and borders. This study contributes to the empirical literature on the transformation of migrant entrepreneurship, specifically by diasporic Chinese. Theoretically, the empirical case of digital entrepreneurship among Chinese migrant women invites us to consider the growing use of both virtual platforms and emotions in the making of migrants’ commercial activities.
Entrepreneurship has been an integral part of the long-standing history of Chinese emigration and a central force in diasporic development. This special issue includes six articles and one research report pertaining to contemporary patterns and emergent themes of diasporic Chinese entrepreneurship. As the special issue editor, I highlight the distinctive characteristics of diasporic Chinese entrepreneurship and discuss the significance of considering the interplay of family, gender, ethnicity, and pragmatism in the study of diasporic Chinese entrepreneurship. I then provide an overview of the works included in this introduction.
Immigrant enterprises, especially those in the service sector of the urban economy, are largely gendered and seemingly localized. However, the intersection of gender and transnationalism is often overlooked in the research literature. To fill this gap, we draw on the literature of mixed embeddedness and transnationalism to advance an analytical framework of simultaneous embeddedness to explain the gendered pattern of immigrant entrepreneurship. We do so by taking an in-depth look at a female-dominant industry – Chinese-owned nail salons in New York City. Using data collected from face-to-face interviews and on-site observations in New York City, as well as archival records and media reports about labor-market dynamics in both the United States and China, we find that the development of Chinese-owned nail salons is shaped by contextual factors in both home and host countries beyond socioeconomic characteristics of individual entrepreneurs. Home-country factors in China include labor-force demographics, access to economic opportunities, and the gap between education and career aspiration among young women. These home-country factors are intertwined with changes in US immigration policy, local labor-market reception, and gender discrimination, which function to exacerbate the problem of labor shortage for Chinese-owned nail salons in New York City. We discuss the significance of simultaneous embeddedness and gender in understanding contemporary immigrant entrepreneurship.
Studies of ethnic entrepreneurship usually concentrate on the ethnic economy in the global north to argue the importance of structural and cultural factors. Based on previous studies and the author’s own work in Dongguan and Jakarta, this article explains how entrepreneurial culture of Taiwanese enterprises, often referred to as Taishang culture, is partially sustained and reproduced through the activities of two ethnic schools in these two cities. The overlapping membership of schools and Taishang chambers of commerce means that ethnic schools are also designed and operated to support the development of Taiwanese enterprises. These ethnic schools are not only institutions for educating Taiwanese children but also the de-facto ethnic enclave for consolidating and reproducing Taishang culture. The two schools also reflect differences in Taishang culture, which are shaped by how Taiwanese enterprises survive and thrive in different contexts.
Success in Chinese family business (CFB) does not automatically transfer from founder to the next generation. CFB in the first generation is situational and dependent on the previous history of the tacit knowledge required to sustain the business. CFB is known for its association with family alliances, habitual ownership practices and embedded networks. Consequently, a firm that has enjoyed success under its founder may not survive into the next generation. In this study, I identified exceptional CFB cases wherein firms successfully codified the tacit knowledge during the “generational change” phase. The findings shed some light on how CFB s in the Malaysian food industry evolved by innovating their products to fit a larger market. My contributions are as follow. First, this study qualitatively demonstrates an “edge” case not seen in the family business literature by leveraging on a uniquely diverse institutional environment (i.e. Malaysia). Specifically, this study suggests that CFB s evolved and emerged as globally competitive firms by codifying tacit knowledge. Second, I demonstrate that this process of transformative learning is central to innovation and competition within the context of succession planning for family business in general, not just CFB s.