Background and context
In 2012 Wuhan and Lancaster Universities hosted the first International Joint Conference on ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice Relevant to China’. At the conclusion of this successful conference Wuhan and Lancaster committed to a series of future conferences on the same theme. This ongoing commitment was aimed at facilitating a growing network of researchers interested in China related research into entrepreneurship and innovation. From the outset it was recognised that experience of theory and practice outside of China would be relevant to informing policy and practice inside China. For this reason the conference aims to be inclusive and work in developing and advanced economies that has implications for China is also welcomed in this second Conference.
The Second International Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (http://ems.whu.edu.cn/eic/EN/01/2011-12-15/8.html) is an adjunct conference. It is co-sited and will take place on the same dates as the Sixth Annual Global Management Conference (http://www.gmconference.ca/). Conference facilities and administration will be provided by Wuhan University for both conferences. Delegates will have the opportunity to share key sessions across both conferences.
Significance of the Topic
China, already the second largest economy in the world, is often perceived as the ‘world’s factory’. But for the economy to remain vibrant entrepreneurship and innovation in processes, products and services is crucial. At a policy level this is signaled in the 12th five year plan where the goal of ‘an innovation orientated society’ is identified as a key priority, and leading technology sectors were identified (China Daily, 27 October 2010). In 2012 the policy was reinforced by the Ministry of Science and Technology with a commitment to deepen and accelerate the building of a national innovation system with a goal to foster indigenous innovation. At the macro level, however, despite China’s remarkable modernization, the legacy of centralized planning and ownership,state-dominated Chinese financial systems, culture, authoritarian political system and monopolistic business environment may hamper this goal of innovation (Wall Street Journal, 8 October 2011).
At the micro firm level other issues surface. Corporate governance features, including ownership, delegation and monitoring, are all instrumental to firms’ innovation, especially the outcome of such activities. Well-governed firms are able to implement innovation with less transaction cost, making such activities more likely to succeed.
Finally, innovation is not necessarily the preserve of large firms or the outcome of centralized policies and planning. Currently, China’s SMEs account for 65 percent of all invention patents and 80 percent of new product developments (Miao, 2012). SMEs have been central to China’s growth and remain so today, a fact that Miao Wei, Minister of Industry and Information Technology has recognized. This economic contribution, however, can’t be relied on as globalization increasingly impacts on innovation and this presents special problems for SMES.
Despite the importance and scope of the above issues, entrepreneurship and innovation research relevant to China is still in its infancy. This conference is a contribution to addressing the urgency for such China related work and welcomes both theory and practitioner based insights.
The conference is jointly organized by Lancaster China Management Centre /Institute of Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development of Lancaster University Management School, and the China National Research Centre for Industry-University-Research Collaboration/Economics and Management School of Wuhan University. It is focused and seeks to enhance our understanding of theory, practice and policy on innovation and entrepreneurship relevant to China. It offers the opportunity to access recent research into the processes of innovation and entrepreneurship in different organizations which are relevant to China in its new development phase.
Uniquely, the conference aims to provide a common forum within which two strands of research can come together. The first is critical and reflective research embedded directly in the China experience covering culture, education and training, policy, policy implementation, technology transfer and inter and intra firm arrangements. The second is the research outside of China which has the potential to inform the theory and practice of innovation and entrepreneurship in China. This is a rich repository of relevant experience from both advanced and developing economies. The conference is designed to bring these two strands together and to generate insights for theory, including new research areas, policy and practice.
This second conference welcomes and seeks to bring together academics, policy makers and practitioner delegates from China, UK and other parts of the world. It will create a ‘theory-practitioner’ community with a shared interest in China and in the development of innovation and entrepreneurship. It will be a learning opportunity for all participants and will provide a sound basis for future conferences and collaboration.
Research Center for China Industry-University-Research Institute Collaboration
Centre for Business Excellence of Wuhan University
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