The transition from a planned to a market-oriented economy has not only led to unprecedented economic growth for China but also brought about far-reaching changes in the lives of Chinese people. In prereform China labour was considered a national resource that should be allocated bureaucratically. Along with the reforms and the abolition of job assignments upon graduation, young Chinese have achieved more autonomy with regard to job choice, but at the same time, they are required to take more responsibility for their own lives. This thesis explores why young Chinese individuals decide to become entrepreneurs in today s China and how they view their own situation in a society undergoing broad economic and social changes. By applying the theoretical framework of the individualization theory, this thesis aims to provide insight into how career choices are made in a society where people cannot rely on the state to provide them with a social safety net. Moreover, this thesis aims to gain a better understanding of the changing relationship between the party-state and the individual. Based on fieldwork conducted in Shanghai between September and December 2013, consisting of interviews and conversations with 30 young entrepreneurs and observations at entrepreneurship events, this thesis argues that young Chinese entrepreneurs are seeking not only to increase their life chances and social status; equally important is their desire to achieve self-fulfilment through entrepreneurship. Among my informants, starting up one s own business was a decision where individual needs and desires were balanced with family responsibilities. Moreover, my findings also show how changes in the labour market force young people to become active and rely on their own efforts. My informants depended on individually constructed networks instead of their family s network to develop their careers. Government announcements, academic articles and news reports provide a background for this study and are used to discuss the findings of the fieldwork. Finally, this thesis argues that starting up a business is a sign of both objective individualization, which young Chinese are compelled to do, and also subjective individualization, as they strive for independence and opportunities for realizing their own value.