How Law, Politics and Transnational Networks Affect Technology Entrepreneurship : Explaining Divergent Venture Capital Investing Strategies in China

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-459
Journal / PublicationAsia Pacific Journal of Management
Issue number3
Online published4 Jun 2009
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes


This article identifies three distinct patterns of investment behavior by venture capital firms investing in technology sector start-ups in China. The first pattern is the service-oriented, technology-light investment behavior exhibited by the foreign venture capitalist firms not founded by ethnic Chinese. The second pattern is the technology creation investment pattern exhibited by foreign firms founded by ethnic Chinese and embedded in ethnic Chinese communities. The third pattern consists of local state-funded Chinese venture capital firms that choose either to invest in state-directed projects or opt out of investing in technology start-ups entirely. What explains the differences in behavior between the strictly foreign and the ethnic Chinese-embedded foreign firms are the different legal environments in which these firms honed their skills. The different learned experience gained from operating in different environments explains why the foreign firms avoid investing in technology-generating activities in China whereas the ethnic Chinese firms are willing to do so despite China's notorious weak intellectual property rights regime. The political factors influencing the distribution of finance in China explain the behavior and essential failure of the local state-run venture capital firms. These findings demonstrate that several distinct, separate and non-clashing institutional arrangements are concurrently operating within China and shaping the behavior of venture capital firms there.

Research Area(s)

  • China, Political economy, Rule of law, Technology, Technology development, Venture capital