Title: Internationalisation process of Chinese SMEs: the role of business and ethnic-group-based social networks

Authors: Yong Kyu Lew; Zaheer Khan; Rekha Rao-Nicholson; Shaowei He

Addresses: College of Business Administration, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, South Korea ' Department of Strategy and International Business, Kent Business School, The University of Kent, Canterbury, UK ' Newcastle University, London, UK ' Northampton Business School, The University of Northampton, UK

Abstract: This article examines how emerging market small and medium-sized enterprises (EM-SMEs) leverage business and social networks for their internationalisation. Drawing from the internationalisation process and network literature, it investigates four Chinese SMEs which have effectively entered foreign markets. The sample of Chinese manufacturing SMEs provides a valuable reference for foreign-network constrained EM-SMEs that face challenges and opportunities in their internationalisation process. The findings suggest that both business and ethnic group-based social networks as well as the strength of these networks play an important role in influencing the internationalisation of Chinese SMEs. Particularly, the findings illustrate the importance and complementary role of ethnic ties (i.e., social networks), and relationships with foreign multinationals (i.e., business networks) that enable the internationalisation process of the EM-SMEs.

Keywords: emerging markets; small and medium-sized enterprises; manufacturing SMEs; internationalisation process; social networks; ethnic ties; China; ethnic groups; foreign markets; market entry; business networks; foreign multinationals; MNCs; multinational corporations.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMCS.2016.081123

International Journal of Multinational Corporation Strategy, 2016 Vol.1 No.3/4, pp.247 - 268

Received: 01 Aug 2016
Accepted: 13 Aug 2016

Published online: 23 Dec 2016 *

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