Original Research

Communication channels in the host community market adopted by Chinese immigrant entrepreneurs

Tinashe T.R. Ndoro, Lynette Louw, MacDonald Kanyangale
Acta Commercii | Vol 18, No 1 | a604 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v18i1.604 | © 2018 Tinashe Raphael Ndoro | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 February 2018 | Published: 18 September 2018

About the author(s)

Tinashe T.R. Ndoro, Department of Marketing Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Lynette Louw, Department of Management, Rhodes University, South Africa
MacDonald Kanyangale, Graduate School of Business and Leadership, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


Orientation: There is a growing prevalence of entrepreneurial activity by immigrant entrepreneurs in different sectors of various economies across the world. Immigrant entrepreneurs seek to identify opportunities to grow and sustain their businesses in hostile business markets. Immigrant entrepreneurs use an array of channels of communication to gain insight of the opportunities in the market.

Research purpose: The study sought to investigate the communication channels used by Chinese immigrant entrepreneurs to identify opportunities in the host community market.

Motivation for the study: The study was undertaken given the dearth of research on the role of communication channels in enabling the identification of opportunities by immigrant entrepreneurs.

Research design, approach and method: A qualitative research design was adopted in which purposive and snowball sampling were adopted. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 21 Chinese immigrant entrepreneurs operating small businesses in the South African context.

Main findings: The results indicate that the immigrant entrepreneurs identified opportunities in the business environment through establishing channels of communication that manifested as networks with family members, customers, local employees and competitors. Building relationships through networks was key for the process of identifying opportunities.

Practical/managerial implications: The study provides evidence that information about opportunities in the market is identified through dynamic channels of communication characterised by networks with different stakeholders.

Contribution/value-add: Communication channels are pivotal in enabling the identification of opportunities in the business environment. Immigrant entrepreneurs actively create and sustain their relationships with various stakeholders in the business environment to be able to identify opportunities in the business environment.


communication; marketing; entrepreneurs


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