Enterprise systems (ES) are a priority in China. The main literature on ES is dominated by survey-based research on large Western firms, which typically focuses on the user firm only and before-and-after effects of implementation. Analyses using critical success factors and technology adoption theories feature widely. China-based research on ES is relatively limited and significantly influenced by Western-based approaches. In contrast, this research examines ES adoption and implementation in Chinese SMEs, from a process perspective, through four case studies. It argues that ES adoption and implementation is a complex process that involves multiple stakeholders, and exploring the interplay among them explains why and how an ES is adopted and implemented. Actor-network theory informs the main analysis. Importantly, the unit of analysis (UOA) is the user-SME and the technology provider combined. The findings challenge the dominant user-centred adoption theories, and the importance of the technology provider in the sociotechnical role.