How Entrepreneurs do What they do
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How Entrepreneurs do What they do

Case Studies in Knowledge Intensive Entrepreneurship

Edited by Maureen McKelvey and Astrid Heidemann Lassen

How Entrepreneurs Do What They Do presents 13 case studies of knowledge intensive entrepreneurship. The book focuses on ‘doing’, in essence, what happens when entrepreneurs are engaging practically in venture creation processes.
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Chapter 14: Business models in Big Data in China: designing new opportunities through sequencing and bioinformatics

Yanmei Zhu and Maureen McKelvey


This case study addresses Big Data, and especially how and why a knowledge intensive entrepreneurship (KIE) venture in China is developing its business model in sequencing and bioinformatics. The case is particularly interesting, partly for being in China, and also because of the unclear and evolving boundaries between public and private and between basic science and technology. The focus is upon designing opportunities, and especially how the firm takes decisions, and designs strategies, to exploit scientific and technological opportunities afforded by sequencing and bioinformatics, as applied to human health care. The concept of the ‘business model’ refers to how firms do business – how they compete and make profits by using their competencies and resources to sell goods and services in the market. Firms, in other words, do business by combining internal resources to offer goods and services that add value to specific groups of customers (Magretta, 2002). The organization studied here is not only a firm, but the business model idea helps us understand the foci and organization of Big Data. Drucker (1994) provided an early and influential definition of a business model. He defined a business model as follows: what an organization is paid for, what an organization considers to be meaningful results (how to make a difference) and where an organization must excel in order to maintain leadership. This definition is broad but useful. It is broad in that it relates to how the organization itself perceives the internal core assets, as well as how it reacts to customers

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