The role of entrepreneurship in China's SMEs in effecting technology transfer from local universities

Cao, Jianghong (2009) The role of entrepreneurship in China's SMEs in effecting technology transfer from local universities. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


The changed economic environment in China, since 1978, has encouraged more and more individuals to start new businesses. Many are necessariiy small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Until recently, research of the SME-sector in China nas been limited. It is now an active area. This thesis examines the role of entrepreneurship, in China's IT-software SMEs, in effecting technology transfer from local universities. An initial conceptual framework was generated to guide the investigation, based mainly on literature derived from western economies. The empirical phase of this exploratory study utilized a multi-strategy (mixed quantitative-qualitative) approach, using both secondary and primary data. The secondary data were used to depict the industrial background of the chosen sector, as it had developed. The primary data were collected via: a questionnaire among IT-software SMEs in two major clusters around Beijing and Shanghai and follow-up interviews with questionnaire respondents. There were three main findings as follow: Chinese software SMEs tended to be reluctant to adopt new technologies from local universities; there was a perceived knowledge gap between the parties. Those entrepreneurs, who did undertake such technology transfer, felt the process was badly impeded by lack of available finance, and expressed fears about poor protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) in China. The majority of the sampled SMEs acted opportunistically, taking advantage of government schemes to earn rapid returns mainly using extant technologies. In addition to these findings, and their more detailed elaboration, another significant contribution of the thesis is the development of a revised conceptual framework. This can act as a guide to future research, by whomever, on the role of entrepreneurship in the Chinese IT-software sector.

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