East Asia

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 153–172 | Cite as

Family Firms, Transnationalism and Generational Change: Chinese Enterprise in Britain and Malaysia



This article reviews theoretical perspectives about the development of ethnic Chinese-owned enterprises in two major sets of literature. The first school is one that adopts culture as the primary explanatory tool for the dynamism of Chinese enterprise. The second school employs the concept of transnationalism, which has served to create a link between identity and capitalism, to analyse Chinese entrepreneurship. Both sets of literature argue that common ethnic identity facilitates the creation of business networks, which explains the rise of ‘Chinese capitalism’. This study questions the foundations of these theoretical arguments by tracing the evolution of family firms and by employing the concept of ‘generational change’.


Chinese enterprise Culture Transnationalism Networks Identity Family business Generational change 

Copyright information

© Springer Science & Business Media BV 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), Palais des NationsGeneva 10Switzerland

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