Entrepreneurship and the Internationalisation of Asian Firms
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Entrepreneurship and the Internationalisation of Asian Firms

An Institutional Perspective

Henry Wai-chung Yeung

This book applies an institutional perspective on transnational entrepreneurship to empirical investigations of transnational corporations (TNCs) from Hong Kong and Singapore. Henry Wai-chung Yeung argues that significant variations in institutional structures of home countries explain variations in the entrepreneurial endowments of prospective transnational business networks. This is illustrated by empirical data from two in-depth studies of over 300 TNCs from Hong Kong and Singapore and over 120 of their foreign affiliates in Asia.
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Chapter 2: Transnational Entrepreneurship in Two Contrasting Asian Contexts: Hong Kong and Singapore

An Institutional Perspective

Henry Wai-chung Yeung


Both Hong Kong and Singapore develop their economies in specific historical contexts shaped by the interactions between domestic institutional factors and the world economy. Indeed, any rigorous research on the topic must start from a recognition of the historical structuration of the opportunity of rapid economic growth through export-oriented industrialization and the local response to such an opening of opportunity in the global economy. (Chiu et al., 1997: 8) We did not have a group of ready-made entrepreneurs such as Hong Kong gained in the Chinese industrialists and bankers who came fleeing from Shanghai, Canton and other cities when the communists took over. Had we waited for our traders to learn to be industrialists we would have starved. (Singapore’s Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew; quoted in his memoirs Lee, 2000). INTRODUCTION This chapter sets the empirical context for the next three chapters by examining the broader institutional structures of Hong Kong and Singapore. Though the book does not aim to provide a fully comparative analysis of entrepreneurship in these two newly industrialised economies, it aims to situate later discussion of transnational entrepreneurship in the context of different state–society relations and economic development trajectories in Hong Kong and Singapore. My argument here is that different home country business and institutional structures have shaped the rationality and behaviour of transnational entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs from Hong Kong and Singapore. This chapter compares key institutional features of economic development in both city-states. I am concerned more with identifying, and less...

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