A study of entrepreneurship : Taiwanese digital content companies in China

Chiu, Chi-Hsuan (2008) A study of entrepreneurship : Taiwanese digital content companies in China. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


China’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has greatly enhanced global interest in investment in the Chinese media market, where demand for digital content is growing rapidly. The East Asian region is positioned as a growth area in many forms of digital content and digital service industries. China is attempting to catch up and take its place as a production centre to offset challenges from neighbouring countries. Meanwhile, Taiwan is seeking to use China both as an export market and as a production site for its digital content.

This research investigates entry strategies of Taiwanese digital content firms into the Chinese market. By examining the strategies of a sample of Taiwan-based companies, this study also explores the evolution of their market strategies. However, the focus is on how distinctive business practices such as guanxi are important to Taiwanese business and to relations with Mainland China. This research examines how entrepreneurs manage the characteristics of digital content products and in turn how digital content entrepreneurs adapt to changing market circumstances.

This project selected five Taiwan-based digital content companies that have business operations in China: Wang Film, Artkey, CnYES, Somode and iPartment. The study involved a field trip, undertaken between November 2006 and March 2007 to Shanghai and Taiwan to conduct interviews and to gather documentation and archival reports. Six senior managers and nine experts were interviewed. Data were analysed according to Miller’s firm-level entrepreneurship theory, foreign direct investment theory, Life Cycle Model and guanxi philosophy.

Most studies of SMEs have focused on free market (capitalist) environments. In contrast, this thesis examines how Taiwanese digital content firms’ strategies apply in the Chinese market. I identified three main types of business strategy: cost-reduction, innovation and quality-enhancement; and four categories of functional strategies: product, marketing, resource acquisition and organizational restructuring.

In this study, I introduce the concept of ‘entrepreneurial guanxi’, special relationships that imply mutual obligation, assurance and understanding to secure and exchange favors in entrepreneurial activities. While guanxi is a feature of many studies of business in Pan-Chinese society, it plays an important mediating role in digital content industries.

In this thesis, I integrate the ‘Life Cycle Model’ with the dynamic concept of strategy. I outline the significant differences in the evolution of strategy between two types of digital content companies: off-line firms (Wang Film and Artkey) and web-based firms (CnYES, Somode and iPartment). Off-line digital content firms tended to adopt ‘resource acquisition strategies’ in their initial stages and ‘marketing strategies’ in second and subsequent stages. In contrast, web-based digital content companies mainly adopted product and marketing strategies in the early stages, and would adopt innovative approaches towards product and marketing strategies in the whole process of their business development. Some web-based digital content companies also adopted organizational restructuring strategies in the final stage.

Finally, I propose the ‘Taxonomy Matrix of Entrepreneurial Strategies’ to emphasise the two dimensions of this matrix: innovation, and the firm’s resource acquisition for entrepreneurial strategy. This matrix is divided into four cells: Effective, Bounded, Conservative, and Impoverished.

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ID Code: 28386
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Keane, Michael & Flew, Terry
Keywords: foreign direct investment, international entry strategies, entrepreneurship, strategy, digital content industry, Guanxi, Chinese market
Divisions: Past > Schools > Creative Writing & Literary Studies
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 02 Nov 2009 06:12
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:53

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