Marketing in Chinese Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs): The state of the art in a Chinese socialist economy

Wai Sum SIU*, Zhi Chao Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    34 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper adopts the context-embedded approach to examine the marketing practices of 307 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the People''s Republic of China by comparing the survey findings with that of Hong Kong and Guangdong SMEs. Chinese SMEs focus on regional markets to avoid direct competition with Hong Kong SMEs in the international markets and also their Guangdong counterparts in the turbulent nationwide market. To market their own brands, Chinese SMEs have to analyze the market and use superior marketing strategies in the competitive markets. Chinese SMEs do not attain the superior competitive positions as that of their Guangdong counterparts, but they use customer satisfaction surveys and claims investigation to help develop excellence in product performance. Also, Chinese SMEs have to provide value-added products and services and also a well-rounded marketing competitive strategy to gain market shares. The traditional state-owned enterprise structure in China facilitates the development of hierarchical organizational structure and joint decision making process. Thus, care should be taken in assuming that marketing tools and techniques are equally applicable across all places, even in similar cultural contexts. Socio-cultural influences and mediating environmental factors should be considered when attempting to understand the marketing practices of Chinese small firms, specifically when China is in transition to a socialist market economy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)333-346
    Number of pages14
    JournalSmall Business Economics
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
    • Economics and Econometrics

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Chinese
    • Marketing practices
    • Small firm


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