Early Career Researchers Network in Asian Higher Education Studies

Graduate Entrepreneurs in Urban China: The Impact of Changing Institutional Environment on the Role of Social Network

Speaker: Dr Yuyang KANG, Lingnan University, Hong Kong

Chair & Discussant: Dr Mengyang LI, Southern University of Science & Technology, Shenzhen


Extended research has shown the significance of social networks in influencing entrepreneurship in China. However, much less is known about how rapid urbanisation and internationalisation have influenced the changing role of different social networks in the younger generation. This article draws on initial fieldwork conducted in Shenzhen to discuss the traditional and transitional elements in young graduate entrepreneurs’ familial and professional ties. It examines in detail the changing role of family and pseudo-family networks and identifies a new type of professional network in Shenzhen, termed ‘giant company old boy’s society’ by the author. This type of network originates from professional networks in one’s previous employment experiences which later transform into ties ascribed by people’s identity as members of a specific community with characteristics of Chinese guanxi and strong ties. This article argues social networks serve as a substitute to unstable institutional support in urban China. This article concludes by discussing the changing nature of guanxi and social networks in urban China and its implication to entrepreneurship development in countries with rapidly changing social context.

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Date: June 3, 2021 (Thursday)
Time: 15:00-16:00 (HK Time) by zoom