Start-ups in emerging markets, entrepreneurship, business models and strategy.
The case is suitable for MBA and EMBA graduate and undergraduate students in strategic management, finance and the relevant areas.
This case provides a real-life entrepreneurial situation in agricultural industry in China. The protagonist of the case is the founder and CEO of the start-up Harvest Agricultural Technology and Development Company Limited (Harvest). From his perspective, the case depicts the current business environment for private companies in China, and presents the opportunities and challenges a new start-up faces in this environment. Agricultural industry plays an important role in the Chinese economy. Especially because in China land is owned by the state or collective, agricultural industrialization has more significance and experiences greater difficulties. The company in the case explores the situation of integrating the different stakeholders of agricultural production and delivery given the current political and economic environment. The case describes the characteristics and quality that a typical Chinese entrepreneur has and questions why such factors matter so much in China. The case emphasizes the strategic planning process of Harvest and its unprecedented business model design. The case also touches upon the growth pattern of entrepreneurial companies in China. All the above issues deserve discussion and in-depth analysis.
Expected learning outcomes
After studying this case, students should be able to: describe the business environment in China and identify the stakeholders of the agricultural industry in China; describe the process and value chain of agriculture production and delivery by adopting management models if necessary; discuss the personality and quality of the founder and CEO and compare his characteristics with that of western entrepreneurs and analyse why these characteristics are helpful (or detrimental) to the start-up company; analyse the development of business model designs, and identify the merits, drawbacks and risks of each version of business model; analyse the competitive advantages of Harvest, and identify the key resources and capacities with management models if necessary; discuss different possibilities of Harvest's future with evidence and process analysis; discuss whether the business model and the development strategy of Harvest are applicable to other companies or industries; discuss how setting the goal of going public on the first day Harvest was founded will affect the development of the company; and compare the business models of Harvest with other companies serving as a platform in a different industry (i.e. Taobao marketplace).
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This case was written by using the information of the company business documents and interviews. The authors have disguised names to protect confidentiality.
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