Emerging Market Internationalization Research Group Report


by Associate Professor Vikas Kumar and Dr Gracy Yang
CSC academic group: Law and Business

Emerging Market Internationalization Research Group Report

Vikas is Associate Professor of International Business and Strategy in the Discipline of International Business at the University of Sydney Business School. Vikas' research interests are in the areas of Internationalization, Emerging Market Firms, Emerging Markets, Business Groups, and Outsourcing/Offshoring.
Gracy is a lecturer in the Discipline of International Business, Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Sydney. Her current research interests include global corporate strategy, management and organizations in transition/emerging economies, organizational learning and change, organizational and inter-organizational networks.
Vikas and Gracy are successful recipients in 2012 and 2013 of the China Studies Centre’s Funded Research Programs: Visiting Staff.

quote EMIRG’s primary objective is to contribute to research and practice by disentangling the unique and unconventional paths and their processes and performances presented in emerging market firms’ international expansion.

Emerging Market Internationalization Research Group (EMIRG) is a newly formed (2011) research group, established with seed funding from the Business School, which is devoted to studying the internationalization strategies of firms from emerging market as well as those of western multinationals in emerging markets such as those of China and India. EMIRG’s primary objective is to contribute to research and practice by disentangling the unique and unconventional paths and their processes and performances presented in emerging market firms’ international expansion. In addition, the research group also aims to enrich our knowledge on doing business in emerging markets by focusing on the unique institutional characteristics of emerging markets, the inherent diversity of institutions, and the consequent challenges and opportunities for traditional multinationals.

EMIRG has conducted two high quality and high impact conferences in collaboration with the Fox School of Business at Temple University. The first conference, held in Philadelphia in November 2011, dealt with the topic of “Emerging Market Firm Competitiveness” where scholars from around the world looked at the increasing competitiveness of firms from emerging markets such as those of China, India, Russia and Brazil among others from the perspective of Internationalization, Innovation and Institutions (3Is). The 3Is perspective acknowledged and incorporated the following three aspects into the mainstream debate on emerging market firm competitiveness:

i) the increasing global expansion of many emerging market firms into developing and developed markets, simultaneously, in an alarmingly accelerated fashion using strategies for large scale acquisitions and mergers
ii) the ongoing reconfiguration of the location profile of innovative activity, where an ever-increasing amount of knowledge-intensive activities are being conducted in emerging markets, and
iii) the continuous institutional evolution of emerging markets, liberalizing their economies and allowing for increasing flows of foreign direct investment from and to their markets.

The conference generated a number of research papers which explicitly addressed issues pertaining to the Chinese context. Notable among them include “Centripetal forces in the international R&D organization of Chinese MNCs - trends and organizational patterns” by Maxmilian von Zedwitz, Marco Zeschky, and Michael Daiber, “Home-based networks and internationalization of Chinese multinational firms” by Veronica Fong and Jacky Hong (Macau), and “The role of firm-level characteristics and institutional factors in firms' lean manufacturing dynamic capability-building: Evidence from Brazil, China and India” by Crystal Jiang and Omar Malik.

In addition to the above papers focussing specifically on China, Garry Bruton, Professor of Entrepreneurship at Texas Christian University, gave a keynote speech on the “Base of the Pyramid in Emerging Markets”. Garry is also the Co-Director of the Institute for Global Innovation and Chinese Entrepreneurship at Tongji University, and an Honorary Professor in the department of business administration at Sun Yat-sen Business School in China.

The second EMIRG conference was held in Sydney on April 11-12. Over 50 scholars from around the world aggregated to discuss issues on how entities based in other countries can leverage India for improving their own global competitiveness. Three broad aspects of critical nature – internationalization of Indian firms, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in India – were the areas of specific focus. An obvious association with China, the much bigger emerging market, was reflected in a number of discussions. The most notable papers were the two keynote speeches as part of the “China India Economics” panel session:

i) “India: In the Chinese Mirror” by Amitendu Palit (Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore) where a very clear comparison of China and India were made in terms of demographic dividend, employment, urbanization, land acquisition, government policies and future growth potential.
ii) “Challenges for China and India” by Andrew Delios (Business Policy and Strategy, National University of Singapore) where the two economies were compared on a number of economic, political and institutional level and categorized as the 21st century iterations of Singapore (China) and Hong Kong (India).

Special issues in the “Journal of International Management” on the topic of the first EMIRG conference (emerging market firm competitiveness) will be in print in 2013, and in “Management International Review” on the topic of the second EMIRG conference (leveraging India) will be in print in 2014.

In addition to the above two conferences, EMIRG has organized a number of research seminars in the last two years many of which have dealt with issues pertaining to Chinese business. A few notable seminars are the following:

i) “FDI spillover effects in incomplete datasets” by Alex Eapen (Australia National University) where a large scale and longitudinal sample of firms from the Chinese banking industry was utilized to test for the FDI spillover effects.
ii) “Caution or causation: how early entrant failures influence new entry decisions” by Gracy Yang (University of Sydney Business School) where the study involved entries by Japanese firms into the Chinese market.
iii) “Entrepreneurs' political capital and resource acquisition: How does institutional change matter in a transition economy?” by Haiyang Li (Rice University) where the transition economy context was that of China.

quote China, India and Brazil, three of the biggest emerging markets together are expected to account for over half of global business activity by 2050.

As part of its future activities EMIRG aims to further its China related activities by conducting a workshop in China in collaboration with a local Chinese University and also develop better linkages with the China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. The activities of EMIRG and its China focus will be of extreme value in pushing forward our understanding of emerging markets in a world environment which is characterized by growing internationalization of emerging markets through inward and outward foreign direct investment. This has become a key research agenda in the context of world's economic centre shifting from the developed to the emerging markets. China, India and Brazil, three of the biggest emerging markets together are expected to account for over half of global business activity by 2050. In fact one of the biggest priorities of the Australian Trade Commission (AUSTRADE) for 2010-11 was "Deepening Australia's engagement in priority markets including China and India and free trade agreement markets such as the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as developing links in emerging markets". This is a testament of the growing role in world economic activity of emerging markets, particularly China and India.