Call for Papers: International Symposium on Global Chinese Entrepreneurship

by Elizabeth Leicester

The 2020 International Symposium on Global Chinese Entrepreneurship, to be held at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) on April 18, 2020, is organized by the UCLA Asia Pacific Center. We invite submissions of papers or abstracts on any aspect of global Chinese entrepreneurship in an international, transnational, or immigration context.

Global Chinese entrepreneurship, diasporic Chinese entrepreneurship in particular, is a long-standing phenomenon for scholarly research. The historian and sinologist Gungwu Wang created a pyramid concept of Chinese migration with huashang (华商 meaning Chinese merchants and traders) as the foundation. Historically and in contemporary times, entrepreneurship has been a vital aspect of diasporic Chinese life and crucial for understanding Chinese migration, diasporic formation, and ancestral homeland/hometown development. This symposium aims to investigate the phenomenon further. We are particularly interested in: identifying the distinct patterns in diasporic Chinese entrepreneurship in historical and comparative perspectives and the relations between diasporic Chinese entrepreneurs and their ancestral homeland/hometowns; tracking the global and local forces that have transformed the ways in which Chinese migrants start and run their businesses in different national or transnational settings; the importance of local and transnational networks in business; the causes and consequences of entrepreneurship that are distinctly Chinese or are based on sub-ethnic identity; and the ways in which the understanding of global Chinese entrepreneurship would shed light on the general phenomenon of ethnic/immigrant entrepreneurship.

Possible topics might include (but are not limited to):

-Theorizing immigrant/ethnic entrepreneurship

-Historical and contemporary patterns of diasporic Chinese entrepreneurship (huashang 华商)

-Taiwanese entrepreneurs (taishang 台商), Hong Kong entrepreneurs (gangshang 港商), and other overseas Chinese entrepreneurs in mainland China and China’s economic reform since 1979

-Taishanggangshang, and diasporic Chinese business culture and networks

-Changes of family businesses in time and space

-New Chinese immigrant entrepreneurs in the Global South (e.g., Africa, Asia, and Latin America, etc.) in contrast to those in the Global North (e.g., the USA, Canada, Western Europe, etc.)

-Intersection of class, gender, and generation in Chinese entrepreneurship

-Religion and Chinese entrepreneurship

-Ancestral homeland connections and entrepreneurial development

-Innovative methodologies in entrepreneurship studies from multi-disciplinary perspectives

Unpublished work is preferred for submission, but recently published and forthcoming papers may also be considered on a case-by-case basis. If you would like to discuss your paper ideas prior to submission, please contact the APC center director Professor Min Zhou at

Please send a 300-to-500-word abstract (or full paper) and a 100-word author biography indicating highest level of education, current position, institution, and research areas, to the UCLA Asia Pacific Center at by January 8, 2020. Letters of acceptance will be emailed out by January 31.

There will be no registration fees. Meals during the symposium will be provided.

Participants will be responsible for all travel and accommodation expenses. Conference organizers will help make hotel reservations.

For more information visit


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