Ethnic Chinese Entrepreneurship in Malaysia: On Contextualisation in International Business Studies, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Ethnic Chinese Entrepreneurship in Malaysia

On Contextualisation in International Business Studies, 1st Edition

By Michael Jakobsen


148 pages | 7 B/W Illus.

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The study of ethnic Chinese in Southeast Asia has a long tradition. What is most striking in these studies is just how difficult it is to generalise about this ethnic group in the region. Whether or not they have been able to identify as Chinese has to a certain extend depended on different processes of social and political engineering, which in turn make them more or less distinct as an ethnic group. In the case of Malaysia, national political schemes such as the affirmative action policy indirectly force the Malaysian ethnic Chinese to conceive of themselves as a coherent collective, and yet, when asked Chinese entrepreneurs in the maintain that despite the affirmative action policy ethnicity is not the a defining deciding factor when it comes to identifying business partners.

This book focuses on the consequences of these kinds of policies in the field of inter-ethnic business practices and entrepreneurship in Malaysia within the wider context of the relationship between local, national and global markets. It focuses on the complexities of inter-ethnic relations and in particular, the strong economic position of the ethnic Chinese and their impact on the Malaysian economic scene as well as on the wider Southeast Asian region, underlining the degree to which inter-ethnic relations in Southeast Asia are crucial to understanding the political and economic complexitiescharacteristic of characterizing the region. In turn, it takes small and medium-sized enterprises as case studies, and shows how they are being shaped and in return shape the society in which they constitute a part. In doing so, the book highlights how these companies not only relate to the domestic economy, but also cater to the global economy, and presents a compelling argument for the introduction of a glocalised perspective in international business studies.

Ethnic Chinese Entrepreneurship in Malaysia will be welcomed by students and scholars with an interest in Asian studies, political economy, international business studies, inter-ethnic relations and diaspora studies.


"Jakobsen's volume makes a valuable contribution to the understanding of how ethnic Chinese entrepreneurs navigate in a specific global-local nexus and adds value to IB theories. This book is highly recommendable for scholars and students of Chinese business and IB studies." - Chin Yee Whah, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Journal of Southeast Asian Economies

Table of Contents

Introduction Part I: The Global Context 1. Visualising the Global Economy 2. Employing an International Business Approach when studying the Triangular Matrix of Glocalisation Part II: The Regional Context 3. The Malaysian State and Economy in the Southeast Asian Region 4. Towards an Understanding of Ethnic Chinese in Southeast Asia Part III: The Local Context 5. ‘Divided thou shall be’: Understanding Ethnic Divisions in Malaysia 6. Ethnic Chinese Entrepreneurship in Penang 7. Navigating the Socio-Economic Landscape in Penang: Three Case Studies Part IV: The Glocalisation of Context 8. On Constructing an Etic and Emic Approach when Employing International Business Theories on Ethnic Chinese Business Practices

About the Author

Michael Jacobsen is Associate Professor in the Department of International Economics and Management at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark

About the Series

Chinese Worlds

Chinese Worlds publishes high-quality scholarship, research monographs, and source collections on Chinese history and society. 'Worlds' signals the diversity of China, the cycles of unity and division through which China's modern history has passed, and recent research trends toward regional studies and local issues. It also signals that Chineseness is not contained within borders - ethnic migrant communities overseas are also 'Chinese worlds.'

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Entrepreneurship
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / International / Economics
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies