The Schoolhouse at Mutianyu Great Wall: Sustaining Village Life

Lydia J. Price, Jin Zhong

    Research output: Other contributionCase Studies


    The case tells how Jim Spear, an American architectural designer came to dwell at China’s Mutianyu Great Wall village and later developed a hospitality business dedicated to supporting rural village life. In 2006, Jim refurbished an abandoned village primary school in which he and three partners launched the Schoolhouse Restaurant. They later added another two restaurant brands nearby and opened an eco-retreat with lodging, spa and meeting facilities. The businesses grew steadily in the early years, not least because of the tourist boom that accompanied the 2008 Beijing Olympics. A few years later, however, visitors to this particular Great Wall site had fallen in numbers and the Schoolhouse partners were struggling to attract visitors specifically to their venues. At the time of the case, Jim is contemplating various avenues of growth. In addition to fine-tuning the hospitality business model, he is considering the launch of a retail shop to sell village-made handicrafts and food items. Jim’s decisions about growth are complicated by the inherent tensions of a hybrid business that attempts to grow profits and social impact at the same time. Students are asked to develop an integrated business model and strategy to support overall business growth and development.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages13
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018

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    Case normative number


    Case type

    Field Case

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    Published by

    China Europe International Business School


    • social entrepreneurship
    • business model
    • hybrid organization
    • Eco-tourism

    Case studies discipline

    • Ethics & Social Responsibility
    • Entrepreneurship

    Case studies industry

    • Accommodation & Food Services


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