Incubating the next generation to venture: The case of a family business in Hong Kong

Kevin Au*, Flora CHIANG, Thomas A. Birtch, Zhujun Ding

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    77 Citations (Scopus)


    Many Chinese family businesses face the dilemma of building good operating and governance structures and systems while fostering an entrepreneurial spirit across generations. In this study, we explored trans-generational entrepreneurship in Automatic Manufacturing Ltd. (AML), a Hong Kong SME, to shed light on this problem. The first generation founded the company and chose a unique development path that emphasized quality, innovation, and learning before grooming a cadre of professional managers. To continue the family entrepreneurial spirit, AML used the "familiness" resources embodied within the family and its business to incubate the second generation. To test the wings of the second generation as entrepreneurs and then lure them back to AML to take over the responsibilities of the first generation, a unique succession plan nurturing spin-offs by the second generation was developed and implemented. Such a systematic approach, although still under experimentation, has the potential to become best practice for other family businesses. The implications of this approach for research in portfolio entrepreneurship and open innovation are also discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)749-767
    Number of pages19
    JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Management
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Business and International Management
    • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
    • Strategy and Management

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Angel investment
    • Family business
    • Trans-generational entrepreneurship


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