Asian Models of Entrepreneurship: From the Indian Union and the Kingdom of Nepal to the Japanese Archipelago: Context, Policy & Practice

Terjesen, Siri A. (2007) Asian Models of Entrepreneurship: From the Indian Union and the Kingdom of Nepal to the Japanese Archipelago: Context, Policy & Practice. Small Business Economics, 28(1), pp. 105-107.

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[Excerpt] "Nanghin is a very noble Province towards the west. The people are Idolaters (and so forth) and live by trade and manufactures. They have silk in great abundance, and they weave many fine tissues of silk and gold. They have all sorts of corn and victuals very cheap, for the province is a most productive one. . . The merchants are great and opulent, and the Emperor draws a large revenue from them, in the shape of duties on the goods which they buy and sell" – Marco Polo (1254-1324)

Marco Polo’s fascination with Asian culture and enterprise continues today, in Western travellers’ blog accounts of navigating the region’s vibrant bazaars, expanding physical infrastructure and western franchises. In stark contrast to Europe which is struggling to stimulate entrepreneurship and innovation, East Asia enjoys a resurgence of entrepreneurial activity and economic growth (UNESCAP, 2001). The thirty-five country Global Entrepreneurship Monitor study reports that East Asia is home to two of the top five entrepreneurially active countries: Thailand (21%) and China (14%), compared with a global average of approximately 10% (Minniti, Bygrave & Autio, 2006).

Despite the East’s great entrepreneurship revival, there is a very limited body research and scholarship available in the English language. Most extant research focuses on Asian emigrants’ entrepreneurship in the West (e.g. Bates, 1999). Leo-Paul Dana fills this gap with his latest treatise on international entrepreneurship, Asian Models of Entrepreneurship: From the Indian Union and the Kingdom of Nepal to the Japanese Archipelago: Context, Policy & Practice. Dana’s focal premise is that entrepreneurship in East Asia is heterogeneous across countries and often within them, and can be best understood by considering the rich national context of history, culture, religion, language, politics and economics. The book consists of a general introduction, review of Asian culture and enterprise, fifteen country chapters: Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, (South) Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, The Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam, and a conclusion. This reviewer is unaware of the existence of such a concise volume.

For Dana, entrepreneurship is economic undertakings at individual, small and large firm levels, in three main economic activity sectors: the bazaar, the state-controlled arena and the firm-type market, and four parallel economic activities: informal (e.g. bartering, unrecorded sales from street vendors), internal (e.g. subsistence agriculture), covert (e.g. prostitution) and fictitious (e.g. foreign devil companies). Next, an overall picture of culture and enterprise is developed, focusing on networking and the perceived role of enterprise in the society. Dana underscores the need for Westerners to take the time to comprehend Asian culture, just as Asians have acquired knowledge of Western customs and language. He followed this path quite literally, undertaking much of this research during travels to Asia.

The subsequent fifteen country chapters recount and interpret the evolution of entrepreneurship from earliest documentation of civilization to present day. The nature of these separate accounts inhibits a full summary of each. The heterogeneity of entrepreneurial activity is evident in these dedicated chapters exploring the unique national contexts, including Korea’ chaebols, Japan’s keiretsu networks, Myanmar’s vast opium poppy production and Vietnam’s post-war Doi Moi model. While this historical and cultural background is presented elsewhere (e.g. the Economist’s country reports), Dana makes a valuable contribution by highlighting links to entrepreneurship from historical (evolution of dynasties), political (colonial rules, national policies promoting entrepreneurship), legal (treaties), social (indigenous, ethnic and religious minorities, women), cultural (covert economic activity) contexts. While some observations may be widely acknowledged by international entrepreneurship scholars, such as Deng Xiaoping’s role in liberalising the Chinese economy, Dana’s detailed accounts will undoubtedly provide fresh insights for even the most veteran researchers. Embedded in the text are photos from Dana’s travels, delightful observations on the nations’ economies, including coconut sales, ghost festivals, rice fields, obsolete currency and the impact of fuel prices. Dana closes each chapter with a brief analysis of the nation’s entrepreneurial future.

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ID Code: 5630
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: For more information, please refer to the journal's website (link above) or contact the author :
Keywords: Asian Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurs, Asia, Book Review
DOI: 10.1007/s11187-006-9028-8
ISSN: 1573-0913
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 Springer
Copyright Statement: The original publication is available at SpringerLink
Deposited On: 22 Mar 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2011 13:28

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