Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Papers in Innovation Studies,
Lund University, CIRCLE - Centre for Innovation Research

No 2019/5: Global innovation networks for Chinese high tech small and medium enterprises: the supportive role of highly skilled migrants and returnees

Jingyi Lin () and Monica Plechero ()
Additional contact information
Jingyi Lin: Lund University, Postal: Sweden
Monica Plechero: University of Florence, Postal: Italy

Abstract: Literature investigating highly skilled Chinese migrants has so far focused on their role as drivers of new entrepreneurship as well as innovation in firms and regions, although their role in supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) engagement in global innovation networks (GINs) is still underexplored. The participation in GINs is key for high tech SMEs, which rely on sophisticated knowledge but may not have the same absorptive capacity of large firms and multinational corporations. Based on primary data from a case study on 19 SMEs in the IT and new media industry in Beijing, this paper investigates the role of returnees and highly skilled migrants in supporting the engagement of Chinese high-tech SMEs in GINs. The results reveal the important role of those individuals in bringing SMEs in former international knowledge networks and establishing new linkages for sourcing key knowledge.

Keywords: lobal innovation networks; GIN; knowledge sourcing; small and medium enterprises; SMEs; Beijing; China; highly skilled migrants; returnees; IT and new media industry

JEL-codes: F20; O30

30 pages, April 4, 2019

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