Leqi Zhao



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Faculty of Business


The contribution of entrepreneurship to economic growth has been shown both theoretically and empirically. As in other countries, entrepreneurs and their private small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have been playing a vital role in the market-oriented economy of China. They can facilitate the spillover of new knowledge to drive an endogenous economic growth, and are thus especially important for China’s transition into an innovation-driven economy. In the manufacturing sector, they are significant for moving up the position of China in the global manufacturing value chain by innovation activities. In 2015 China’s government proposed the ‘Mass Entrepreneurship and Innovation’ program to encourage more entrepreneurial activities. But the concern of researchers has now moved from the quantity of entrepreneurs to the quality of entrepreneurs. Private SMEs built by high quality entrepreneurs with good post-entry performance can better contribute to economic growth. The performance of private SMEs should be estimated to better understand entrepreneurial activities in the manufacturing sector of China and facilitate the implementation of the ‘Mass Entrepreneurship and Innovation’ program. But it has not been studied in the existing literature.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.