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Cultural Brokerage and Transnational Entrepreneurship: South Korean and Korean Chinese Entrepreneurs in Beijing's Koreatown
- Cultural Brokerage and Transnational Entrepreneurship: South Korean and Korean Chinese Entrepreneurs in Beijing's Koreatown
- Yoon, Sharon J.
- Ewha Authors
- Sharon Yoon
- Issue Date
- Journal Title
- KOREA OBSERVER
- vol. 48, no. 2, pp. 387 - 423
- transnational entrepreneurship; ethnic enclave; cultural skills; middleman minority; Korean Chinese
- INST KOREAN STUDIES
- SSCI; SCOPUS; KCI
- Previous research shows that transnational entrepreneurs move between home and host societies, taking advantage of new markets, currency differentials, and transnational resources. This paper problematizes current theories that stress the importance of human capital in transnational entrepreneurship, by highlighting the powerful role that cultural skills can play in the mobilization of resources. Using ethnographic, interview, and survey data from transnational firms in Beijing's Korean enclave, the paper compares the experiences of South Korean and Korean Chinese entrepreneurs in Beijing, and demonstrates how Korean Chinese, who have lower levels of human capital and material resources, are able to achieve upward mobility by using their positions as cultural middlemen whereas the South Korean entrepreneurs, despite better access to seed money, education, and entrepreneurial experience, are crippled by their limited cultural knowledge.
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