Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

Chinese Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Vancouver: A Case Study of Ethnic Business Development

Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

Chinese Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Vancouver: A Case Study of Ethnic Business Development

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT/RESUME

This paper examines the ethnic strategies of Chinese business immigrants who have come to Canada as "entrepreneurs" under the auspices of the Canadian Business Immigration Program. It applies the Interactive Model of ethnic business development, originally formulated by Waldinger, Aldrich and Ward (1990), which identifies the influence of "opportunity structures" and "group characteristics" on the ethnic strategies utilized by ethnic entrepreneurs and, in turn, the influence of these ethnic strategies on "opportunity structures" and "group characteristics." Using data derived from in-depth interviews with Chinese immigrant entrepreneurs in Vancouver this paper reformulates this general model into one which specifically applies to this cohort of entrepreneurs. It illustrates that for many Chinese immigrant entrepreneurs there are structural constraints and blocked mobility in the non-ethnic/open market and relegation to the ethnic/closed (ethnic consumer products) market. A major finding is the existence of tr ansnationalism as a strategy of ethnic business development where many of these entrepreneurs circulate themselves and their resources between Canada and Asia in the operation of their businesses.

Cette communication examine les strategies ethniques des immigrants commerciaux chinois qui sont venus au Canada a titre d'<> sous les auspices du Programme d'immigration des gens d'affaires du Canada. Elle utilise le modele interactif du developpement des entreprises ethniques, formule a l'origine par Waldinger, Aldrich et Ward (1990), qui determine l'influence des <> et des <> sur les strategies ethniques utilisees par les entrepreneurs ethniques, et en retour, l'influence de ces strategies ethniques sur les <> et les <>. En utilisant les donnees tirees d'entrevues approfondies avec des entrepreneurs immigrants chinois Vancouver, cette communication reformule le modele general en un qui s'applique particulierement cette cohorte d'entrepreneurs. Elle decrit que pour bien des entrepreneurs immigrants chinois, il existe des contraintes structurelles et une mobilite bloquee sur le marc he non ethnique/ouvert et une relegation du marche ethnique/ferme (produits ethniques de consommation). Une conclusion importante est l'existence du transnationalisme a titre de strategie du developpement des entreprises ethniques ou beaucoup de ces entrepreneurs circulent eux-memees et leurs ressources entre le Canada et l'Asie dans la pratique commerciale de leurs entreprises.

Introduction

The number and proportion of Chinese entrepreneurs from Hong Kong and Taiwan who have come to Canada under the auspices of the Canadian Business Immigration Program have increased substantially over the past decade or so. Back in 1983 during the early stages of the Program, there were only 792 Chinese entrepreneurs from Hong Kong and Taiwan and they constituted a mere 11 percent of all immigrants from Hong Kong and Taiwan and 13 percent of all business immigrants. In 1983 business immigration was 7 percent of total immigration, while immigration from Hong Kong and Taiwan was only 8 percent of total immigration (Employment and Immigration Canada, 1985). By the year 1993 there were 9,323 Chinese entrepreneurs and they constituted 20 percent of all immigrants from Hong Kong and Taiwan and 29 percent of all business immigrants. In 1993 business immigration had risen to 13 percent of total immigration and immigration from Hong Kong and Taiwan has risen to 18 percent of total immigration (Citizenship and Immigratio n, 1996). Since 1993 the total annual number of Chinese entrepreneurs from Hong Kong and Taiwan, and their proportions, have decreased somewhat but they still constitute very significant annual migration flows. Over the period from 1983 to 1996 over 70,000 Chinese entrepreneurs have migrated to Canada and the vast majority of them, like so many other business immigrants, have settled in the cities of Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver (Citizenship and Immigration, 1998a; Employment and Immigration Canada, 1992). …

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