Inter-firm cooperation is considered an efficient way of improving the competitiveness of companies. However, we have little empirical data that relates to the factors supporting inter-firm cooperation in developing countries. This study examines whether the success factors identified in the literature apply to high-tech SMEs in China. The study confirms the critical success factors identified in the literature and furthermore, points out that factors related to the necessary inputs for cooperation, including ‘trust, communication and reciprocity’, ‘top leader commitment’, ‘well-documented agreements’, ‘sufficient cooperative resources’ and ‘safeguards in place for protecting core technology’ are the most influential factors for inter-firm cooperation in the Chinese context. The results imply that a single critical success factor is insufficient, critical success factors are complementary and increase the likelihood of successful cooperation. The results of the study have strategy implications for business managers and policy makers.
Keywords: China, SMEs, high technology, inter-firm cooperation