Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 30458
Identifying Business Incubators Based on Their Real Activities: Evidence from China

Authors: Yunhao Zhu, Lu Wei, Ping Deng, Wentao Yu


Past literature on business incubators distinguished incubators based on their mission statements. However, more and more mission statements become a slogan rather than a reality. It is therefore more appropriate to identify business incubators based on their real activities, rather than the missions they declared. With a sample of technology business incubators (TBIs) in China, we try to investigate business incubators’ real activities by examining the incubation efficiency along the following five dimensions, i.e., survival of new ventures, technology transfer, local economic growth, job creation, and profit generation. Furthermore, we identified six types of business incubators. The results indicate that generally Chinese TBIs have a greater preference for acquiring profits over other dimensions. 

Keywords: China, business incubators, mission statements, real activities, incubation efficiency, technology business incubators

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 1071


[1] Aerts, K., Matthyssens, P. & Vandenbempt, K., “Critical role and screening practices of European business incubators”, Technovation, vol. 27, no.5, pp. 254-267, May. 2007.
[2] Bruneel, J., Ratinho, T. & Clarysse, B., “The evolution of business incubators: comparing demand and supply of business incubation services across different incubator generations”, Technovation, vol. 32, no.2, pp. 110-121, Feb. 2012.
[3] Phan, P.H., Siegel, D.S. & Wright M., “Science parks and incubators: observations, synthesis and future research”, Journal of Business Venturing, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 165-182, Mar. 2005.
[4] Lalkaka, R. & Shaffer D., “Nurturing entrepreneurs, creating enterprises: technology business incubation in Brazil,” International conference on effective business development services, 1999.
[5] MOST. “China was ranked second to the United States in terms of the number of incubators on a world scale,” Dec. 2007.
[6] Aernoudt, R., “Incubators: tool for entrepreneur?”, Small Business Economics, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 127-135, Sep. 2004.
[7] Barbero, J.L., Casillas, J. C. & Ramos, A., “Revisiting incubation performance how incubator typology affects results”, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, vol. 79, no. 5, pp. 888-902, 2012.
[8] Grimaldi, R. & Grandi, A., “Business incubators and new venture creation: an assessment of incubating models”, Technovation, vol. 25, no. 2, pp.111-121, Feb. 2005.
[9] Scillitoe, J.L. & Chakrabarti, A.K, “The role of incubator interactions in assisting new ventures,” Technovation, vol. 30, no. 3, pp.155-167, Mar. 2010.
[10] Allen, D.N. & Mccluskey, R., “Structure, policy, services, and performance in the business incubator industry,” Entrepreneurship, Theory and Practice, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 61-77, 1990.
[11] Peters, L., Rice, M. & Sundararajan M., “The role of incubators in the entrepreneurial process,” Journal of Technology Transfer, vol. 29, no. 1, pp.83-91, Jan. 2004.
[12] Mian, S.A., “Assessing value-added contributions of university technology business incubators to tenant firms,” Research Policy, vol. 25, no. 3, pp.325-335, May. 1996.
[13] Bøllingtoft, A. & Ulhøi, J.P., “The networked business incubator–leveraging entrepreneurial agency?” Journal of Business Venturing, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 265-290, Mar. 2005.
[14] Hansen, M.T., Chesbrough, H.W. & Nohria N., “Networked incubators: hothouses of the new economy,” Harvard Business Review, vol. 78, no 5, pp.74-84, Sep/Oct. 2000.
[15] Hackett, S.M. & Dilts, D.M., “A real options-driven theory of business incubation”. Journal of Technology Transfer, vol. 29, no 1, pp. 55-82, Jan. 2004.
[16] Colombo, M. & Delmastro, M., “How effective are technology incubators? Evidence from Italy,” Research Policy, vol. 31, no. 7, pp. 1103-1122, Sep. 2002.
[17] Peña, I., “Business incubation centers and new firm growth in the Basque country,” Small Business Economics, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 223-236, Apr/May. 2004.
[18] Chen, C.J., “Technology commercialization, incubator and venture capital, and new venture performance,” Journal of Business Research, vol. 62, no. 1, pp. 93-103, Jan. 2009.
[19] Bøllingtoft, A. 2012. The bottom-up business incubator: Leverage to networking and cooperation practices in a self-generated, entrepreneurial-enabled environment. Technovation, 32(5):304-315.
[20] Bergek, A. & Norrman, C., “Incubator best practice: a framework.,” Technovation, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 20-28, May. 2008.
[21] Chan, K.F. & Lau, T., “Theresa Lau, Assessing technology incubator programs in the science park: the good, the bad and the ugly,” Technovation, vol. 25, no. 10, pp. 1215-1228, Oct. 2005.
[22] Hackett, S.M. & Dilts, D.M., “A systematic review of business incubation research,” Journal of Technology Transfer, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 55-82, Jan. 2004.
[23] Ratinho, T. & Henriques, E., “The role of science parks and business incubators in converging countries: Evidence from Portugal,” Technovation, vol. 30, no. 4, pp. 278-290, Apr. 2010.
[24] Sá, C. & Lee, H. “Science, business, and innovation: understanding networks in technology-based incubators,” R&D Management, vol. 42, no. 3, pp. 243-253, 2012.
[25] NBIA. Business Incubation FAQ May. 2008.
[26] UKBI. “What is Business Incubation?” May. 2008.
[27] EC., “Benchmarking of Business Incubators,” Final report, Brussels, 2002.
[28] Rice, M.P., “Co-production of business assistance in business incubators, an exploratory study,” Journal of Business Venturing, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 163-187, Mar. 2002.
[29] Phillips, R.G., “Technology business incubators: how effective as technology transfer mechanisms?” Technology in Society, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 299-316, Aug. 2004.
[30] Siegel, D., Westhead, P. & Wright, M., “Science parks and the performance of new technology based firms: a review of recent UK evidence and an agenda for future research,” Small Business Economics, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 177-184, Mar. 2003.
[31] Rothaermel, F.T. & Thursby, M., “Incubator firm failure or graduation? The role of university linkages,” Research Policy, vol. 34, no. 7, pp. 1076-1090, Sep. 2005.
[32] Rothaermel F.T. & Thursby, M., “University-incubator firm knowledge flows: assessing their impact on incubation firm performance,” Research Policy, vol. 34, no. 3, pp. 305-320, Apr. 2005.
[33] Hu, A., “Technology parks and regional economic growth in China,” Research Policy, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 76-87, Feb. 2007.
[34] Yuan & Gao, Z., “Programs and Plans for the Development of Science and Technology of China,” National Defense Industry Press, Beijing, 1992.
[35] Yin, R., “Alternative measurements of productive efficiency in the global bleached softwood pulp sector,” Forest Science, vol. 46, no. 4, pp. 558-569, 2000.
[36] Dai B. & Sun D. “Study on the Performance of Enterprise Incubator Based on DEA Method,” Science & Technology Progress and Policy, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 142-146, 2012.
[37] Zhang J. & Yin Q., “Difference Study on the Operational Efficiency of Business Incubators in China - Based on Data Envelopment Analysis and Cluster Analysis,” Science of Science and Management of S&T, vol. 31, no. 5, pp. 171-177, 2010.
[38] Diza-Balteiro, L. & Heruzo A.C., “An analysis of productive efficiency and innovation activity using DEA: an approach to Spain’s wood-based industry,” Forest Policy and Economics, vol. 8, no. 7, pp. 762-773, Oct. 2006.
[39] Iraizoz, B., Rapun, M. & Zabaleta, I., “Assessing the technical efficiency of horticultural production in Navarra, Spain,” Agricultural System, vol. 78, no. 5, pp. 387-403, Dec. 2003.
[40] Thursby J.G. & Kemp, S., “Growth and productive efficiency of university intellectual property licensing,” Research Policy, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 109-124, Jan. 2002.
[41] Thursby J.G. & Thursby, M.C., “Who is selling the ivory tower? Sources of growth in university licensing,” Management Science, vol. 48no. 1, pp. 90-104, Jan. 2002.
[42] Siegel, D., Waldman, D. & Link, A., “Assessing the impact of organizational practices on the relative productivity of university technology transfer offices: an exploratory study,” Research policy, vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 27-48, Jan. 2003.
[43] Siegel, D., Westhead P. & Wright, M., “Assessing the impact of university science parks on research productivity: exploratory firm-level evidence from United Kingdom,” International Journal of Industrial Organization, vol. 21, no. 5, pp. 1357-1369, Nov. 2003.
[44] Schwartz, M. & Hornych, C., “Cooperation patterns of incubator firms and the impact of incubator specialization: Empirical evidence from Germany,” Technovation, vol. 30, no. 9, pp. 485-495, Sep/Oct. 2010.