Business networks, "brain circulation", and the American Chinese diaspora

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Purpose – Overseas Chinese business networks have had a profound effect on the economic development of mainland China and on the global economy as a whole. Such networks are based predominantly on familial, language and cultural factors and provide a foundation on which business is conducted, often with reduced transaction costs and with resilience to major shifts in the financial markets. This paper aims to explore business networks in the US Chinese diaspora.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper begins with a brief introduction to the concept of ethnic business networks. Subsequent sections provide historical background on the Chinese diaspora and the role Chinese business networks have played around the world. An examination of how such networks have evolved in the US context follows. Finally, implications are discussed and a research agenda is suggested.

Findings – It is suggested that a different type of business networking pattern has evolved in the US context, one that is less reliant on the traditional pillars of family, language and culture and more on intellectual capital.

Research limitations/implications – No empirical evidence is presented here. However, a research agenda is specified.

Originality/value – Relatively little has been written that specifically addresses the US Chinese business experience, which differs in several important ways from other groups in the Chinese diaspora. This paper examines this branch of the Chinese diaspora, focusing on the networking behaviors among professionals, including those that have most recently emerged in the high tech sector.

Original Citation

Grossman, M. (2010). Business networks, "brain circulation", and the American Chinese diaspora. VINE,40(3), 287-300. https://doi.org/10.1108/03055721011071412