"From Guanxi to WeChat?": New Social Networking Technologies and Digital Entrepreneurship in Beijing

Birte Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This paper explores how digital entrepreneurs utilise social networking technologies to develop and maintain networks in an increasingly digital environment. Despite the growing relevance and use of social networking technologies in entrepreneurship, few studies investigate the impact and outcome of social networking technologies in entrepreneurial processes. This paper addresses this research gap and explores the silent revolution instigated by new technological developments on contemporary networking practices. The paper is based on a case study involving 20 Beijing based digital entrepreneurs and presents empirical data contributing to the intersection of entrepreneurship and networking in the digital age. The paper applies a theoretical framework combining entrepreneurship and network theory, and offers new theoretical directions suited to explore networking in the digital dimension. The paper finds that WeChat, the Swissknife of social media, provide entrepreneurs with new diverse channels of networking, in practice diminishing traditional restraints for networking. The paper offers advanced insights to contemporary entrepreneurship and networking in the digital era, a field in need of future attention and extensive research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)430-454
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Digital entrepreneurship; social networking technology; networks; guanxi; strong ties; weak ties; latent ties; WeChat; China; Beijing.
  • social networking technology
  • networks
  • guanxi
  • strong ties
  • latent ties
  • WeChat
  • China
  • Beijing

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