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date: 19 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article provides an overview of the institutional structure of the business system of China. It explores the role of the state, the financial system, ownership and corporate governance, the internal structure of the firm (management), employment relations, education and skills formation, inter-company relations (networks), and social capital. Its analysis suggests a form of authoritarian capitalism, with the Communist Party retaining pervasive influence throughout the system. Within the basic architecture now in place, much institution-building remains to be done, with bottom-up, decentralized processes playing an important role in institutional change. Salient systemic characteristics include informality—deviance of actual practice from formal structures—and multiplexity—the presence of multiple business systems within China. This article contributes directly to the business systems and varieties of capitalism literature, and identifies institutional contingencies for comparative and international social science research in general.

Keywords: China, Asia, business systems, varieties of capitalism, institutions, authoritarian capitalism, institutional change, informality, multiplexity

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