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Beyond Networking: An Institutional View Of Chinese Business

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Chapter Summary

This article argues that traditional Chinese business was not founded on the tenets of Confucianism, nor on &t;networks&t; of connections, but on practices which had to do with contracts, accounting, and incorporation. As the law was largely silent on these matters, businesses were operated under political patronage and universal practices were sanctioned by ritual. The Company Law, introduced into China in the late nineteenth century and enacted by successive Chinese governments in the twentieth century, made a tremendous impact on these practices, but traditional business practices existed side by side with reforms introduced via Company Law. It starts from the fundamental basis that social institutions had to be created in order for business to be viable, challenging, in effect, the assumption of Adam Smith and the classical economists that businesses might result from the mere presence of unequal advantages.

Keywords: Chinese business; Company Law; Confucianism; incorporation; networks; twentieth century



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