Business / Economy

Next generation not keen on family businesses, says survey

By Zheng Yangpeng (China Daily) Updated: 2015-09-03 11:04

A Peking University survey revealed that as many as 80 percent of the next generation are reluctant to take the helm at family-owned businesses.

Most (about 70 percent) of the next generation at Chinese family-run businesses are keen to strike out on their own and chart a path different from their parents.

This poses a huge challenge at a time when most of China's family-run businesses are likely to face succession problem in the next five to 10 years.

The survey, carried out by the Guanghua School of Management at the Peking University, found that most of the next generation have received business school education in Western universities and have very little interest in their parents' traditional businesses.

Only 20.5 percent said they are willing to take up their parents' roles, while 10.2 percent said they are willing to work as professionals in other firms.

"Unlike similar families in the West, the two generations in China face a far greater gap in values, beliefs and aspirations, due to the tremendous social transformation the past three decades," said Jin Li, associate dean of the Guanghua School of Management. "Many are deeply confused and apprehensive about the succession issue."

The results were released on Friday at the launching ceremony of a new program developed by the Guanghua School of Management, Said Business School at the University of Oxford and Harvard Business School, for executives of family businesses in China that are keen to expand their global footprint.

The next generation has refused to take up their parents' business for various reasons, Jin said.

Exposed to Western higher education, they have sharply different business ideas from their parents.

They also have a strong incentive to prove their own capabilities, and fear even if they fill in, their tough-minded parents will still dictate the day-to-day affairs. On the other hand, parents fret that their children are not experienced and are often naive, he said.

"This constant conflict has hit many families. One first-generation entrepreneur told me that he felt sad that he succeeded among a thousand competitors, but when it came to passing on his legacy, he had just one option - his only son," Jin said, referring to the one-child policy.

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