Academic journal article International Journal of Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurs in China and Vietnam: Motivations and Problems

Academic journal article International Journal of Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurs in China and Vietnam: Motivations and Problems

Article excerpt


Purpose - This study examines the economic and social reasons why entrepreneurs in China and Vietnam start their small businesses. It also aims to understand problems faced by these entrepreneurs.

Design/Methodology/Approach - Likert-style questions were used to determine entrepreneur motivations and problems. Mean scores were calculated and compared to highlight significant differences.

Findings - Entrepreneurs in both China and Vietnam are motivated by the desire for improved economic status - higher income and job security. Common problems include inadequate access to capital, limited property rights adjudicated by weak legal systems, and rampant corruption. Differences are driven by culture and include, as an example, a disproportionate number of male entrepreneurs in China.

Research Limitations/Implications - Results cannot be generalized to other countries, even those of similar cultures, because the results are highly influenced by politics, economics, religion, attitude towards entrepreneurs hip and other social factors.

Practical Implications - Since motivations and problems differ across countries, governments can benefit from developing country-specific programs to encourage business creation. As an example, entrepreneurs in both China and Vietnam would benefit greatly by a more equitable allocation of capital. In addition, foreign companies can benefit by understanding entrepreneur motivations and problems to serve as a guide prior to direct investment.

Originality Value - Using current data collected directly from entrepreneurs, this study provides a comparison of the relative progress of small private businesses in two countries (China and Vietnam) with similar economic and political roots but cultural variation and different paths through economic and political transition.

KEYWORDS - Entrepreneur, China, Vietnam, Problems, Challenges, Motivations



Small businesses dominate the economic landscape of most countries. Although business publications and the popular press put the spotlight on large multi-national corporations, micro- and small-sized enterprises (MSEs), together with small- and mediumsized enterprises (SMEs), contribute to economic development, increase household income and create jobs as well (Spring and McDade, 1998; Steer and Taussig, 2003). Economies, even those of highly industrialized nations are, in reality, based upon small business. According to Minniti (2008) entrepreneurship is the mechanism through which economic growth takes place. Further, Carland & Carland (2004) argued that the greatest potential for future economic development lies with businesses with fewer than 20 employees and the age-old adage that "What's good for General Motors is good for America" should be replaced by "What's good for Entrepreneurship is good for America."

In this study we examine the motivations of entrepreneurs, and the problems they face, in two countries: China and Vietnam. This paper will make several important contributions. First, it provides better insight into the factors that motivate entrepreneurs and the opportunity to examine differences due to a national environment including political, economic, social and cultural factors. Second, it will suggest country-specific policy changes to enhance entrepreneurial success, leading to overall economic success. In particular, this study seeks to understand vital differences in motivation and problems between China and Vietnam. Entrepreneurs in China and Vietnam responded to a questionnaire about themselves, their businesses and their motivations for starting their current business. A better understanding of these motivations for business ownership can help policymakers design policies that encourage and promote the creation of businesses. Similarly, understanding of differences will help foreign businesses prepare for engagement with China and Vietnam. …

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