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Book Sections Year : 2023

Capitalizing on Opportunities during the Covid-19 Pandemic: Business Transitions among Chinese Entrepreneurs in France

Abstract

This chapter explores business transitions among Chinese immigrant entrepreneurs in France (in five different commercial sectors: imports and exports, retail, catering, hotels, and tobacco) during the Covid-19 pandemic. After giving a historical overview of the development of ethnic Chinese businesses over the past century, the chapter examines the challenges that these entrepreneurs have faced during the pandemic, the strategies that they adopted in response to these challenges, and what enabled them to shift business patterns and commercial practices under these unprecedented circumstances. Before the pandemic, some Chinese entrepreneurs had already made the transition, in full or in part, to “integrating online and offline businesses,” “hiring beyond Chinese ethnic networks,” and “paying attention to the local policy directions,” which helped them greatly limit the negative impacts of the pandemic. The major findings in this chapter show that the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the transition in Chinese immigrant entrepreneurship in France, from offline operations to digital business. However, the pandemic might not be the direct cause of this business transition; rather, it created unique conditions that facilitated the transition. During the pandemic, two unprecedented business opportunities opened up that some Chinese entrepreneurs have proactively pursued since April–May 2020: “fostering local production” and “seeking low-risk sectors.” These might be new trends for Chinese entrepreneurs in France in the future. This chapter suggests that, from a theoretical perspective, business transitions among Chinese entrepreneurs in France need to be examined beyond the framework of pure economic rationality, taking into consideration the intersection of new dynamics in Chinese migration to living country and the cross-cultural, cross-institutional and cross-border social engagement of the entrepreneurs before, during, and after the pandemic.
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Dates and versions

hal-04313001 , version 1 (30-11-2023)

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Simeng Wang, Xiabing Chen. Capitalizing on Opportunities during the Covid-19 Pandemic: Business Transitions among Chinese Entrepreneurs in France. Simeng Wang. Chinese in France amid the Covid-19 Pandemic. Daily Lives, Racial Struggles and Transnational Citizenship of Migrants and Descendants, BRILL, pp.256-281, 2023, 9789004678606. ⟨10.1163/9789004678606_011⟩. ⟨hal-04313001⟩
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