US and UK social enterprise legislation: insights for China's social entrepreneurship movement
China's remarkable economic ascendancy has resulted in growing inequality, pollution and labour strife. This has led to an increasing interest in Chinese social entrepreneurship as one potential method of addressing these problems. However, social entrepreneurs in China face regulatory hurdles which drive them to register as commercial enterprises instead of as socially–minded non–government organisations. This can cause public and investor scepticism regarding whether these Chinese social entrepreneurs are truly social–mission driven. This suggests that China could benefit from legal structures that facilitate social enterprise such as community interest companies in the UK and benefit corporations in the USA. Drawing upon legal transplant and social entrepreneurship perspectives, this paper suggests that the UK community interest company model is more consistent with China's socio–political context than the US benefit corporation model and may form the basis for a dialogue regarding a future China–specific social enterprise corporate structure.
Keywords: China, social enterprise legislation, sustainable development, community interest companies, benefit corporations, legal transplant, comparative law, USA, UK, United States, United Kingdom, social entrepreneurship, social enterprises, legal structures, corporate structure, organisational structure, sustainability