Yanbo Wang
Prof. Yanbo Wang
Management and Strategy
Associate Director, Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Associate Professor

3917 0020

KK 1107

Academic & Professional Qualification
  • Ph.D. MIT Sloan
  • B.A. Peking University

Yanbo Wang is an Associate Professor of Strategy and Innovation at the University of Hong Kong. He conducts research on technology-based entrepreneurship, with a particular focus on the impact of institutions on startup firms’ strategic choices, organizational forms and financial performance. His current projects map the entrepreneurial landscape in China and examine the design and effect of the country’s state innovation subsidy programs.

Dr. Wang has published in peer-reviewed academic journals such as Management Science, Research Policy, Strategic Management Journal and Administrative Science Quarterly. He serves on the editorial board of Administrative Science Quarterly and Strategic Management Journal.

Dr. Wang received BA in international relations from Peking University and Ph.D. in Management from MIT. Prior to HKU, he has taught at Boston University, Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business and the National University of Singapore, where he served as a doctoral program director in strategy and policy.

  • International Entrepreneurship for BBAs and MBAs (BU)
  • Business Model Innovation for MBAs (CKGSB)
  • Technological Innovation for BBAs (NUS)
  • International Strategy for PhDs (NUS)
  • Capstone Course for MGMs (HKU)
Research Interest
  • Technological Change
  • Business Model Innovation
  • Entrepreneurship
Selected Publications
  • “Has China’s Young Thousand Talents program been successful in recruiting and nurturing top-caliber scientists?” (with Dongbo Shi and Weichen Liu), Science, Volume 379 Issue 6627, January 2023, pp. 62-65.
  • “Good to Go First? Position Effects in Expert Evaluation of Early-Stage Ventures” (with Jiang Bian, Jason Greenberg and Jizhen Li), Management Science, Volume 68 Issue 1, January 2022, pp. 300-315.
  • “Fraud and Innovation” (with Toby Stuart and Jizhen Li), Administrative Science Quarterly, Volume 66 Issue 2, June 2021, pp. 267-297.
  • “Firm Performance and State Innovation Funding: Evidence from China’s Innofund Program” (with Jizhen Li and Jeffrey L. Furman), Research Policy, Volume 46 Issue 6, July 2017, pp. 1142-1161.
  • “Social Influence in Career Choice: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment on Entrepreneurial Mentorship” (with Charles Eesley), Research Policy, Volume 46 Issue 3, April 2017, pp. 636-650.
  • “Who Cooks the Books in China, and Does It Pay? Evidence from Private, High-technology Firms” (with Toby Stuart), Strategic Management Journal, Volume 37 Issue 13, December 2016, pp. 2658-2676.
  • “Bringing the Stages Back in: Social Network Ties and Start-up firms’ Access to Venture Capital in China”, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, Volume 10 Issue 3, September 2016, pp. 300-317.
  • “Matthew: Effect or Fable?” (with Pierre Azoulay and Toby Stuart), Management Science, Volume 60 Issue 1, January 2014, pp. 92-109.
Service to the University/ Community

Dr. Wang has acted as a reviewer for 15 journals, including AMJ, MS, OS, and IEEE TEM. He is an editorial board member of ASQ and SMJ and serves as an external PhD examiner for the National University of Singapore. He is also an executive board member of Asian Innovation and Entrepreneurship Association (AIEA).

Recent Publications
After you. No, really.

No matter where you live or who you are, if you’ve attended school, been on a sports team, played music, or made any kind of presentation ever, there is a core memory that we all share: being chosen to go first. That sinking feeling you get when you stand up and step into the unknown and start speaking, or playing, or demonstrating, or whatever, and all eyes are on you – because you’re the first one. The quiet terror that seeps in as people begin to assess you, the judges peering at you, the knowledge that everyone else has more time to prepare than you…It stays with you forever.

HKU Business School examines the effectiveness and implications of the talent recruitment programmes

Science, an internationally renowned academic journal on scientific research, has recently published a research paper co-authored by Dr Yanbo Wang from HKU Business School and Dr Dongbo Shi from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, titled ‘Has China’s Young Thousand Talents program been successful in recruiting and nurturing top-caliber scientists’, examining the effectiveness of China’s Young Thousand Talents (YTT) programme in recruiting, retaining and nurturing top scientists.

Good to Go First? Position Effects in Expert Evaluation of Early-Stage Ventures

There is often considerable anxiety and conflicting advice concerning the benefits of presenting/being evaluated first. We thus investigate how expert evaluators vary in their evaluations of entrepreneurial proposals based upon the order in which they are evaluated. Our research setting is a premiere innovation fund competition in Beijing, China, where the prize money at stake is economically meaningful, and evaluators are quasi-randomly assigned to evaluate written grant proposals without the possibility of peer influence. This enables us to credibly recover a causal position effect. We also theorize and test how heterogeneity in evaluators’ prior (context-specific) judging experience moderates position effects. Overall, we find that a proposal evaluated first requires total assets in the top 10th percentile to merely equal the evaluation of a proposal in the bottom 10th percentile that is not evaluated first. Firm and evaluator fixed-effects models yield consistent findings. We consider evaluation design elements that may mollify these position effects in the discussion section.

Fraud and Innovation

We show that fraudulent firms allocate resources differently than honest companies. Resources obtained through fraudulent means are likely to be viewed as unearned gains and are less likely to be invested in productive activities, such as recruiting talent. We posit that honest and fraudulent companies also invest in different types of innovation: honest firms pursue technically significant innovations, while fraudulent companies are likely to make smaller investments in less challenging inventive opportunities that contribute to the appearance rather than the substance of innovation. We test these predictions in a longitudinal dataset tracking the personnel recruitment and patenting activities of 467 Chinese high technology firms, all of which applied for state-funded innovation grants. We identify fraud by comparing two sets of financial books prepared by each company in the data in the same fiscal year, which are legally required to be identical but are discrepant in over 50 percent of cases, in a direction that benefits the firm. We find that relative to honest companies, fraudulent firms are more likely to receive state grants and are less likely to recruit new employees or produce important inventions in the post-grant period.