Living in the Shadow of Mainland China - On Delineating Social and Political Constrains Among Southeast Asian Chinese Entrepreneurs

  • Michael Jacobsen Asia Research Centre


Abstract Taking a point of departure in the fluid political and economic landscape of East and Southeast Asia, this paper focuses on ethnic Chinese SME entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia, who are gradually becoming the focus in a discussion of whether a rising Mainland Chinese economy is a positive or negative force in Asia. Contrary to the coherent nature usually associated with this particular ethnic group, this article argues, that in fact it is divided into many smaller factions. This differentiation of the ethnic Chinese community in Southeast Asia, it is argued, is a reflection of many different influences from, especially, colonialism, and different contemporary social and political developments within the individual Southeast Asian countries. This increasing societal complexity makes ethnic Chinese entrepreneurs vulnerable in the wake of a rising Mainland Chinese economy, as they await to see if the latter impacts positively or negatively on the various Southeast Asian economies, thus indirectly influencing how they are embedded within their societies. Keywords: China, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Chinese entrepreneurship, national politics, ethnicity.

Author Biography

Michael Jacobsen, Asia Research Centre
Associate professor