Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2007 (Revised December 2008)

The Challenges of Launching a Start-Up in China:

by William C. Kirby, F. Warren McFarlan and Tracy Manty


After graduating from Harvard Business School in June 2006, Ken Pao and Bill Li were ready to fully commit to the Internet start-up they had been working on since they first stepped foot on the business school campus. They moved to Beijing, rounded out their management team, received venture capital investment, developed joint-venture partnerships, and set key milestones to create a full-impact product launch for their social networking Web site catering to the college market. On the day of their launch, they faced a setback from China's Ministry of Education and were forced back to square one. Discusses the pluses and minuses of partnering with China's government ministries, the highs and lows of entrepreneurship, and the numerous opportunities available to entrepreneurship in China today.

Keywords: Business Startups; Joint Ventures; Entrepreneurship; Product Launch; Business and Government Relations; Internet; China;


Kirby, William C., F. Warren McFarlan, and Tracy Manty. "The Challenges of Launching a Start-Up in China:" Harvard Business School Case 307-075, January 2007. (Revised December 2008.)