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In the aftermath of the Great Recession, the concern with exclusionary and unethical business practices has led to the growing popularity of social entrepreneurship, which focuses on the creation of social value, not wealth. In this article, I reflect on social entrepreneurship in China, a unique context given the strong Communist party leadership and the transition to a market economy. To begin, I discuss the legal and political framework for social entrepreneurship in China, followed by an overview of the sector’s characteristics, including age, size, social issues emphasized, leader characteristics, and the role of women. Next, I provide examples of three social enterprises in China that illustrate the diverse possibilities for this sector as a force for social and institutional change. I conclude with some suggestions for strengthening China’s social enterprise ecosystem.

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Journal of Economic Issues