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Do entrepreneurial social networks boost enterprise growth? Evidence from the Pearl River Delta in China


Against the backdrop of China’s traditional culture and economic transition, the effect of entrepreneurs’ social networks on enterprise growth has become an important topic attracting attention from both academics and practitioners. This paper decomposes entrepreneurs’ social networks into three dimensions: the external horizontal social network representing inter-firm relationship, external vertical social network in the form of interactions between enterprises and the government, and internal vertical social network referring to entrepreneurs’ control over enterprise operation. Results based on data from the Pearl River Delta reveal that all of the three dimensions of social network exert a positive impact on enterprise growth. The external horizontal social network plays the most influencing role, while the effects of the other two kinds of networks cannot be neglected either.


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Correspondence to Wanli Xu.

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Translated from Zhongguo Gongye Jingji 中国工业经济 (China Industrial Economy), 2009, (1): 87–97

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Qian, X., Xu, W. & Li, K. Do entrepreneurial social networks boost enterprise growth? Evidence from the Pearl River Delta in China. Front. Bus. Res. China 4, 498–513 (2010).

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  • social networks
  • enterprise growth
  • private enterprises
  • dimensional structure