Despite decades of entrepreneurship research since Joseph Schumpeter and others (see recent collections in Casson 1990, 1995; Livesay 1995; Low and Tan 1996), however, we still know relatively little about the real actors and their behavior in transnational corporations. In the case of Chinese business literature, this lacuna is attributed to the fact that most studies of Chinese entrepreneurship tend to focus on the ethnic Chinese in their domestic setting (e.g. Lim and Gosling 1983; Redding 1990; Hamilton 1991a; Brown 1995; East Asia Analytical
Unit 1995; Hodder 1996; Lever-Tracy et al. 1996; Weidenbaum and Hughes 1996; Haley et al. 1998; Hefner 1998). It has been argued that strong entrepreneurship is one of the defining characteristics of Chinese businesses in the Asia Pacific region. These studies are concerned with the role of Chinese entrepreneurs in innovation, new business start-ups and economic development of their “home” countries in East and Southeast Asia. Moreover, Chinese entrepreneurship research has little interaction with mainstream research on international business and organizational behavior. The latter is preoccupied with the firm as their central unit of analysis. While Chinese entrepreneurship research tends to ignore entrepreneurs in international business, studies of international business and organizational behavior focus overtly on the nature and organization of TNCs at the expense of those actors and individuals who are managing the worldwide web of transnational corporations – the entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs themselves. There is thus a case for actor-specific studies of Chinese transnational entrepreneurship. This task is particularly important in an era of increasing global financial volatility and emerging crisis tendencies in global capitalism. To a large extent, the success and failure of Chinese business firms abroad are critically dependent on how entrepreneurial spirits in these firms are constituted and realized in different host countries and regions.