Chapter 2: Chinese Clan Entrepreneurship
David Leong When early immigrants arrived at Singapore from China, clan associations provided them with social contacts, training, business ideas, market information, business concepts, start-up capital and technical assistance. This web of ethnic networks played an important role in facilitating the development of entrepreneurship in Singapore. Since different dialect groups had their own associations, this resulted in industry clustering. The Hakka entrepreneurs, for instance, dominated the city’s medical halls. More recently, clan associations in Singapore have been linking up with similar associations overseas, resulting in impressive networks of international entrepreneurs. This chapter presents an account of the evolution of Chinese clan associations into vehicles for international entrepreneurship. Dollinger (1985) explains that entrepreneurs are hardly isolated in their decisions. They are influenced by networks of significant others. Networking involves calling upon a web of contacts for information, support and assistance. The literature on networks is rich. Aldrich and Whetten (1981), Baker (1990), Donckels and Lambrecht (1997), Holt (1987), Johannisson (1986), Mitchell (1973) and others, discuss social ties, which are all explanatory variables for network structures. Aldrich and Zimmer (1986) integrated network theory into the study of entrepreneurship. Carsrud et al. (1986) found networks to be important in understanding new venture development. Aldrich et al. (1987) found network accessibility to be significant in predicting new venture creation. Dubini and Aldrich (1991) found networks central to entrepreneurship. Birley et al. (1991) looked at networks in different geographic contexts. In a study of Korean entrepreneurs in Atlanta, Min and Jaret (1985) found family networks...
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