What Prohibits University Graduates from Becoming Entrepreneurs in Shenzhen? An Exploratory Study through Online Posts and Interviews

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsPresentation

Abstract

In the last two decades, Chinese higher education system has expanded rapidly from an elite model to a massified one, which inevitably leads to oversupply of university graduates. In the meantime, the Chinese economy reaches a point of transformation where the country is losing its global advantage in cheap labour price while still shorts of cutting-edge innovation capacity. Chinese policy leaders thus began to promote mass innovation and entrepreneurship, especially innovation-centric entrepreneurship among higher education degree holders, aiming to transform domestic economy and solving graduate unemployment issue. Set against this context and the broader theoretical debates regarding the role of individual and structural factors in driving entrepreneurship, this article critically exams how graduate entrepreneurs in Shenzhen reflect upon their entrepreneurial experiences. An exploratory text analysis of more than 400 online posts on entrepreneurs in Shenzhen reveals that impenetrable high housing price and shortage of high scale talents are the most frequently mentioned weakness when Chinese netizens talking about Shenzhen and entrepreneurship. Further In-depth interviews with 32 entrepreneurs show that barriers prohibiting entrepreneurship among Chinese young graduates can be both cultural and structural.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

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