This book is one of the first academic contributions analyzing the factors pushing Chinese firms to internationalize their activities. The authors define and assess the factors that compel Chinese firms to go global, including internal ones, such as the acquisition of managerial, organizational, and technological skills, and external ones – relations with central and provincial governments, the degree of competition, competitive advantage, and the role of institutions.
The work brings together 15 contributions grouped into four sections. The first section analyses the corporate capacity and the dynamics of China’s external investments; the second focuses on institutional aspects of the firms’ globalization; the third examines this process through the experience of companies in Asia; and the last presents case studies of specific strategies followed by Chinese firms.
The book’s contributors are mainly scholars from (or working in) the United States or China, and most are specialists in international business. The Chinese contributions are welcome for their ability to conceptualize internationalization in terms of contemporary Chinese managerial thinking, often through the use of picturesque formulas (“dancing with wolves”). The contributors make their observations and analyses in line with a rigorous and homogeneous theoretical framework relevant to their discipline. This provides coherence but fails to prevent redundancies – several contributors start by repeating the conceptual framework of their studies. The analytical key, at once methodological and synthetic, is developed in Chapter 4 by Ilan Alon, Theodore Herbert, and Mark Munoz. They consider organizational aspects (infra microeconomic, internal to the firm) as well as strategic and institutional factors behind the success (and sometimes failure) of Chinese firms in the globalization process.
The Chinese economy is emerging in the framework of a far from complete institutional transition, as Shaomin Li underlines in the preface. The trajectory of China’s internationalization follows that of its Asian predecessors (Japan, South Korea), but in a different manner, notably in access the skills required to build competitive advantage. Japan and South Korea underwent a process of endogenisation of technology (“reverse engineering”). China’s case has required technology import through the influx of foreign capital, and then a difficult assimilation and mastering of the technology before the firms, state-owned or private, proceed to carve up foreign markets. Editors: Ilan Alon and John R. McIntyre; Publishers: Palgrave Macmillan; Source: French Centre for Research on Contemporary China