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CHINESE ENTREPRENEURIAL ACTIVITY IN PORTUGAL: TRADITIONAL ETHNIC STRATEGIES?

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Author(s): Catarina Reis Oliveira

Journal: Revista CIDOB d'Afers Internacionals
ISSN 1133-6595

Issue: 92;
Start page: 223;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: Portugal | immigration | Asia | China | diaspora | ethnic entrepreneurs | family business

ABSTRACT
In Portugal in recent decades, just like in other welcoming countries, immigrants have reached levels of entrepreneurial activity that are higher than those of autochthonous citizens. However, a deeper analysis of the official data shows that not all immigrant groups have the same tendency to become entrepreneurs. In this respect, the Chinese stand out as being the group with the highest ratio of entrepreneurial activity in Portugal, despite the fact that their migration is a relatively recent phenomenon. What factors can explain the Chinese community’s disproportionate rate of entrepreneurial initiative? Do they possess any particular resources that make them more enterprising than the autochthonous population, or than other groups of immigrants? Does the context of Portugal hamper certain opportunities or in some way limit their economic integration into the job market? Do we find similar business strategies among other Chinese entrepreneurs residing in welcoming societies apart from that of Portugal? Why did Chinese business initiative grow at such an exceptional rate in Portugal in the late 1990s? By seeking answers to these questions, this article attempts to examine Chinese business strategies in Portugal, as well as their exceptional success rate in comparison with other entrepreneurial immigrants. To that end, the author has analysed the data gathered in a survey carried out on 309 Chinese entrepreneurs resident in Portugal (see Oliveira, 2005).
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