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Gabriel Chiu

Gabriel Chiu

2017 Graduate Research Funding Recipient
2018 Graduate Student Fellowship Recipient


Gabriel Chiu is a PhD candidate in sociology. As an economic sociologist, he is broadly interested in the relationship between culture and the economy. In particular, his dissertation is a mixed-method study of the rise of entrepreneurship and its changing meaning in China. Prior to Stanford, Chiu read sociology at Oxford (MSc with distinction), where he was also a member of St. Hugh’s College. Chiu holds an MSc in management and strategy from London School of Economics, and a bachelor in economics from China. He has work experience in management consulting before joining academia.

2017-2018 Graduate Student Research Funding project abstract

The Spirit of Entrepreneurship in China

Asian cultures were once deemed incompatible with the spirit of entrepreneurship. However, recent entrepreneurship boom in China challenges this conventional wisdom. Despite Confucianism’s traditional disdain of merchants and Communism’s ideological taboo on private business, China today attracts a quarter of the world’s total venture capital, second only to the U.S. How can entrepreneurship, commonly understood in the West as heroic innovation from the bottom, grow in China, a collectivistic culture emphasizing conformity and a former command economy under three decades of central state planning? Drawing on economic and cultural sociology, Chiu argues that we must understand the change of the cultural meaning of entrepreneurship within the historical context of China’s modernization process.  This research will contribute to entrepreneurship studies, the varieties of capitalism literature, and public policies.