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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The role of economic factors and 'guanxi' networks in the success of Chinese shops in Johannesburg, South Africa
Author:Willemse, Lodene
Periodical:Urban Forum (ISSN 1874-6330)
Geographic terms:South Africa
retail trade
social networks
Abstract:The recent rise of China as a major global capitalist player has significantly affected those countries to which the Chinese have migrated, and South Africa has proved no difference. Little research was found pertaining pecifically to the daily operation of Chinese shops in South Africa. Consequently, the aim of this paper is to fill this gap in our knowledge by providing an outline of the operational aspects associated with running Chinese shops in the city of Johannesburg and entrepreneurs' perceptions and opinions of their business environment. The background information sketches a picture of the Chinese diaspora and the economic activities of Chinese immigrants in South Africa, while the literature review provides insights into the global nature of Chinese migrants as ethnic entrepreneurs and examines their patterns of economic activity in foreign countries. Questionnaire interviews were conducted with 500 respondents selected at random throughout the city of Johannesburg. The demographic results show that respondents have followed different trajectories to establish themselves in South Africa. Furthermore, results indicate that economic factors and 'guanxi' networks (close family and friend networks) are the most important aspects that influence and shape the general business profile of respondents. Despite trying circumstances, respondents remain innovative entrepreneurs who use their economic resourcefulness and 'guanxi' networks to make a living in Johannesburg by adapting to local circumstances quickly. Important implications for better local government planning for Chinese communities and businesses in Johannesburg are also highlighted. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]