Chapter 8

The Importance of Social Organization in Chinese Family Businesses

In this context, social organization refers to a group of overseas Chinese businessmen who gather to perform activities for certain social and political objectives for organizing blood drives and promoting political agendas for eliminating discrimination against ethnic Chinese and gaining stronger political influence.

Evolution of the Bamboo Network

The bamboo network is a network of close-knit Chinese entrepreneurs with large corporate empires in Southeast Asia. It consists of conglomerates in the Southeast Asia region that started as small family businesses run by overseas Chinese families. Later, the bamboo network made great contributions in spurring economic growth in Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Singapore. The founders of these conglomerates typically started with little wealth. They built their family enterprises from scratch and then worked, saved, and reinvested. One exception might be Robert Kuok. He was born to a successful rice, flour, and sugar trader.

The businesses are managed by the founder and his family: sons, brothers, nephews, in-laws, and also daughters and nieces. This provides loyalty, flexibility, fast decision-making, and low overhead cost. The businesses are run with strong Confucian values. “To live is to love others, to honor one’s parents, to do what is right instead of doing what is to advantage, to practice reciprocity, ...

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