Market capitalism that compels people to work harder can only produce the prettiest, largest and sweetest fruit when it is combined with strong faith (ethics) that compels people to not lie and not harm others.—Esquire (2006)
China has in recent years witnessed the rapid growth of religion in general and Christianity in particular. A great number of young, educated and well-off Chinese, including entrepreneurs, have declared their new faith in the Christian God. Research has also shown that there are a growing number of “Christian” companies, ones that declare their active pursuit of combining Biblical principles with business activities, emerging in cities such as Wenzhou and Shanghai (Chen and Huang 2004). It seems for more and more people in modern China, economic success, hard work and Biblical values are societal components capable of existing together in harmony. This chapter goes into detail about the worldviews of Overseas Chinese Christian businesspeople, exploring the broader attitudes and values inherent in their religious ethos which induce and influence their economic motives and activities.
Religious and Entrepreneurial Spirit of Overseas Chinese Christian Entrepreneurs in Shanghai
There are inevitably different views among Christians, as we shall see later, but there remain certain values which are manifestly seen among them. In order to better understand the following chapters on Christian business organizations, religious networks as well as Christian women's business performances, it is necessary to first delineate the underlying values and economic motivations of those Overseas Chinese Christian entrepreneurs whom I interviewed.