The main literature on Enterprise Systems (ES) is dominated by research on large Western firms. The survey based research method, which is commonly employed with focal concerns about user perspectives and critical success factors (CSFs), shows a great emphasis on the analysis of before-after effects. In contrast, this research examines ES engagement in Chinese SMEs through case studies. It argues that ES adoption and implementation is a complex process that operates within a broader institutional context, and the significance of institutional influence needs to be identified and explored. Both King et al.'s (1994) institutional framework and DiMaggio & Powell's (1983) institutional isomorphism have informed the institutional analysis of this paper. The findings signify that the Chinese government potentially plays an important role in influencing ES engagement, however its effectiveness is limited. The importance of normative and mimetic power is also highlighted.