Dr Liang Zhao

Lecturer in Marketing Strategy

Dr Liang Zhao

School/Department: Business, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 223 1981



Dr Zhao is a Lecturer of Marketing and Strategy at the University of Leicester School of Business. Prior to joining ULSB Dr Zhao was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the School of Business and Law at the University of Agder in Norway. He holds a PhD from Amsterdam Business School University of Amsterdam. Dr Zhao is a distinguished research fellow of China’s Public Sector Economy Research Centre (CPSERC) and China-Israel Entrepreneurship and Innovation Centre (CIEIC) in China. In addition he is an affiliated senior researcher at the Crowdfunding Research Centre at the University of Agder. He is also a guest speaker for the European Crowdfunding Network (ECN) and a member of the European Centre for Alternative Finance (ECAF). 


Dr Zhao’s research interests are digital marketing consumer behaviour and entrepreneurship. Specifically Dr Zhao is an expert in crowdfunding research with a special emphasis on investigating the interactive mechanism of crowdfunding platforms backers and entrepreneurs; backer behaviour; crowdfunding community formation and success factors of crowdfunding campaigns. Currently as a co-investigator Dr Zhao is working on two ongoing research projects. The first one is a four-year (2020-2024) project funded by the Research Council of Norway (RCN). This project focuses on investigating the application and impact of crowdfunding in the cultural sector ( The second project is a three-year (2021-2023) research project funded by the National Social Science Foundation (NSSF) of China. This project aims to investigate the innovation ambidexterity of Chinese SMEs.


  • Sun, Z., Zhao, L., Wei, H., Wang, X., & Riemersma, R. R. (2022). Do guanxi and harmonious leadership matter in the sociocultural integration by Chinese multinational enterprises in The Netherlands? International Journal of Emerging Markets.
  • Zhao, L., Shneor, R., & Sun, Z. (2022). Skin in the game: Self-funding and reward crowdfunding success. Business Horizons, 65(1), 89-100.
  • Sun, Z., Zhao, L., Wang, S., Zhang, H., Wang, X. & Wan, Z. (2021). Targeted poverty alleviation and households' livelihood strategy in a relation-based society: Evidence from Northeast China. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.18(4),1747.
  • Shneor, R., Zhao, L. & Flaten, B.-T. (Eds.) (2020). Advances in Crowdfunding: Research and Practice. Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Zhao, L. & Li, Y. (2020). Crowdfunding in China Turmoil of Global Leadership. Shneor, R., Zhao, L. & Flaten, B-T. (Eds.) Advances in Crowdfunding Research and Practice, 273-296.
  • Zhao, L. & Ryu, S. (2020). Reward-based Crowdfunding Research and Practice. Shneor, R., Zhao, L., and Flaten, B-T. (Eds.) Advances in Crowdfunding Research and Practice, 119-143.
  • Zhao, L. & Shneor, R. (2020). Donation Crowdfunding-Principles and Donor Behavior. Shneor, R., Zhao, L., and Flatten, B-T. (Eds.) Advances in Crowdfunding Research and Practice, 145-160.
  • Shneor, R., Zhao, L. & Flaten, B-T. (2020). Introduction: From Fundamentals to Advances in Crowdfunding Research and Practice. Shneor, R., Zhao, L., and Flaten, B-T. (Eds.) Advances in Crowdfunding Research and Practice, 1-18.
  • Shneor, R., Flaten, B-T. & Zhao, L. (2020). The Future of Crowdfunding Research and Practice. Shneor, R., Zhao, L., and Flaten, B-T. (Eds.) Advances in Crowdfunding Research and Practice, 499.
  • Zhao, L & Vinig, T. (2019). Guanxi and reward-based crowdfunding success: a Chinese case. Chinese Management Studies,14(2), 455-472.
  • Zhao, L & Sun, Z. (2019). Donation-based or reward-based: which crowdfunding model is better for financing social purposes? Baltic Journal of Management,15(2), 237-260.
  • Sun, Z & Zhao, L. (2019). Chinese reverse M&As in the Netherlands: Chinese managers' trust-building practices. Chinese Management Studies,14(1), 69-91.
  • Sun, Z., Jai, K. & Zhao, L. (2019). Corporate social responsibility and sustainability of local community: A case study of the transnational project in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Sustainability, 11(22), 6456.
  • Zhao, L. & Vinig, T. (2017). Hedonic value and crowdfunding project performance: a propensity score matching-based analysis. Review of Behavioral Finance, 9(2), 169-186.


I am willing to supervise PhD students who are interested in digital marketing, consumer behaviour and entrepreneurship with an emphasis on crowdfunding-related topics. Some sample topics are listed as follows:

  • Consumer behaviour in the context of Crowdfunding/e-business
  • Marketing strategies and components in the context of Crowdfunding
  • Crowdfunding motives adoption and intentions
  • Innovation Growth and Internationalization Strategies of crowdfunding platforms
  • Comparative studies of Crowdfunding models
  • Factors influencing crowdfunding campaign success and failure
  • Social Media role in Crowdfunding
  • Cross-cultural and cross-country studies of Crowdfunding practice and motives
  • Network composition and relations in Crowdfunding
  • Gender issues in crowdfunding 


MN7012 Research Methods for Marketing (Module Leader)

Press and media

  • Crowdfunding
  • Consumer Behaviour
  • Digital Marketing 
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