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Home NIFR Research Centers Global Family Business Research Center
Global Family Business Research Center

Starting from the reform and opening up in 1978, the private sector has become an indispensable force behind the China's miracle. According to Chinese President Xi Jinping, the private sector has become a major contributor to job creation, technological innovation and tax revenue, adding that the sector has played an important role in transferring rural labor force and contributing to the international market. 

Currently in China, 85% of the 32 million private enterprises are family business. They are now faced with generational succession challenges. New Fortune China Rich List in 2019 shows that 78% of the top 500 entrepreneurs are over 50 years old, which forecasts the incoming of a huge succession tide over the next 10~20 years in China.

According to Businessweek, about 40% of U.S. family-owned businesses transition into second-generation businesses, approximately 13% are passed down successfully to a third generation, while 3% survive to a fourth or beyond. For China, among the 27 million family businesses, 60% of which (16 million) may disappear due to the succession challenge. This "gray rhino" may cause series of economic and social problems, such as the decrease of employment and growth.

Tsinghua University’s NIFR Global Family Business Research Center (GFBC, or the Center) was founded in 2015, with the mission of creating knowledge of family businesses, cultivating multi-generational family leaders, promoting and enabling the development of wealth management industry, and contributing to China’s long-range development.

For many years, GFBC has been devoted to the research in the areas of family business, wealth management, family office, family philanthropy, etc., and has published more than 100 articles and case studies in domestic and international academic journals and magazines, and 16 books on family business and wealth management. GFBC has co-authored several Harvard Business School (HBS) cases, including HBS’s first case of Asian private banking and first case of family office in China.

GFBC provides superior research for policymakers, such as China’s and foreign ministries, central and local regulators, etc. The Center collaborates closely on research projects with reputational institutions globally, such as World Economic Forum, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, China Banking Association (CBA), Sinar Mas Group, Country Garden Group, UBS, Ping An Insurance (Group), etc. Based on the intellectual contributions it makes for sustainable development of the national economy and private enterprises, GFBC is aiming to become a leading center with great international impact in the fields of family business and wealth management.

GFBC brings together the best minds from academia and the industry by assembling a high-level team of 5 full-time researchers, several part-time researchers and an administrative staff. The Chairman of the GFBC Academic Board is Dr. Lauren H. Cohen, the L.E. Simmons Professor in the Finance & Entrepreneurial Management Units at Harvard Business School and an Editor of the Review of Financial Studies. Members of the GFBC Academic Board include professors from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), University of St. Gallen, Lancaster University, WHU ("Wissenschaftliche Hochschule für Unternehmensführung" in German).

GFBC’s director Dr. Hao GAO (Tony), is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Councils, a member of Advisory Board of All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC), a co-editor of The Wealth Management Journal, a chief editor of Family Business Governance Series and Family Wealth Succession Series, a research fellow of China Enterprise Reform and Development Society (CERDS), and a China Committee member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioner (STEP).

GFBC is recruiting research fellows with the inter-discipline backgrounds of Economics, Finance, Management, Law, etc. Please contact the director via: 
gaoh@pbcsf.tsinghua.edu.cn.