Capital structure of Chinese listed SMEs: an agency theory perspective

Wei Huang, Agyenim Boateng, Alex Newman

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


Prior work examining the antecedents of capital structure for small and medium-sized enterprises in emerging markets is limited. This paper sheds light on how the corporate governance mechanisms adopted by firms on the newly established Growth Enterprise Market (GEM) in China influence their use of debt. We find that the financial leverage of GEM firms is positively influenced by executives’ shareholding and their excess cash compensation. Ownership concentration appears to reduce leverage, whereas the percentage of tradable shares increases leverage. In contrast, institutional investors’ shareholding does not influence the level of debt. Traditional factors such as tax and operating cash flow are insignificant in explaining the debt levels among GEM firms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-550
Number of pages16
JournalSmall Business Economics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • Capital structure
  • China
  • Executive compensation
  • Ownership structure
  • SMEs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (all)
  • Economics and Econometrics


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