Foreign entrepreneur success in China: the role of entrepreneurial cognition in opportunity recognition

Document Type : Original Research


School of Management, Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang, China


There is a huge opportunity for foreign entrepreneurs to enter the Chinese market. They have noted that the market is difficult to enter and complex to navigate. This study contributes towards filling this gap by identifying the critical success factors for foreigners in China, basing on entrepreneurial cognition and opportunity recognition theories. 128 entrepreneurs in China were surveyed through semi-structured interviews. Their responses were collated and analyzed using graph theoretic matrix approach to identify and rank the factors with the most influence on their business success. The factors with the greatest influence on the success of foreign entrepreneurs are government policies and funding. Government policies towards innovation through financing for technology companies and the demographic make-up of the consumer population provide the greatest opportunities for foreigners. By understanding the most crucial success factors and the role of cognition in opportunity recognition, entrepreneurs and managers can derive meaningful insights into strategic choices regarding doing business in China. This study addresses a grossly under-researched topic of global entrepreneurs in China. Not only is there a large number of foreigners living in China, but they also find great difficulty in adjusting to the cultural scene and this affects business outcomes. Furthermore, GTMA is a highly scientific method that the authors show is valuable in social science research, particularly entrepreneurship research