East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society

East Asia Workshop: 11/14 Haichao Wu, “Born-Global: Why Small Firms Love International Trade”


East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society presents


“Born-Global: Why Small Firms Love International Trade”


Haichao Wu

MAPSS Student

University of Chicago


4:30-6:00p.m., Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

Pick Lounge, 5828 South University Ave.

*Light refreshments will be provided*



International business is often considered a game for large multinational corporations (MNCs); in general, we expect that small businesses will be unproductive, focus on the domestic market, and oppose the trade liberalization measures that MNCs find so attractive. New survey data challenges this conventional wisdom by demonstrating that out of 552 Chinese firms interviewed, the smaller companies actually support international trade as strongly as their larger and foreign counterparts. This paper argues that China’s position on the global technology ladder and its domestic economic institutions have encouraged small firms to welcome trade liberalization with its attendant increase in technology transfer and export dependence on the part of these firms. A comparative case study of structured interviews with 36 small Chinese firms confirms the hypothesis. Finally, this paper assesses the robustness of my theory by examining four alternative explanations for this unexpected support of international trade: economic prosperity, trade policy-making processes, the degree of higher education attained by firm managers, and the “liberal” constraints imposed by international organizations.

*To learn more about the workshop, please visit our workshop website: http://cas.uchicago.edu/workshops/eastasia/

*Subscribe or unsubscribe to the workshop mailing-list at: https://lists.uchicago.edu/web/info/east-asia

*Questions and concerns can be addressed to the student coordinator Haitong Xu (xuhaitong@uchciago.edu) and Yang Xiang (xiangalan@uchicago.edu)


Faculty sponsors:

Xi Song (Sociology), xisong@uchicago.edu

Dali Yang (Political Science), daliyang@uchicago.edu

Dingxin Zhao (Sociology), dzhao@uchicago.edu


The East Asia Workshop is sponsored by the Council on Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences. Persons with disabilities who believe they may need assistance please contact the student coordinator in advance.

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