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Institutional Entrepreneurship in the Informal Economy: China's Shan-Zhai Mobile Phones



During the last decade, Chinese shan-zhai mobile phones have steadily and deliberately evolved from an informal economy to a formal one. We draw on institutional entrepreneurship to study this evolution, focusing in particular on how informal Chinese entrepreneurs pursued change and the transition to a formal economy. We emphasize three strategies—framing, aggregating, and bridging—Chinese entrepreneurs employed to mobilize support, garner resources, and increase their amount and level of legitimacy. We also discuss implications for research on informal economies and institutional entrepreneurship. Copyright © 2014 Strategic Management Society.