Creating and Managing International Joint Ventures

By Arch G. Woodside; Robert E. Pitts | Go to book overview

8 European Ventures in China: Characteristics and Entry Strategies

David K. Tse Kevin Y. Au Ilan Vertinsky


INTRODUCTION

The integration of the European countries into a single market has changed how we perceive its market characteristics. Such changes also affected the firms. To capture the enlarged market in Europe and new global markets, many European companies engage in acquisition, mergers, and other forms of interfirm alliances. As a result we may be seeing the emergence of a new generation of firms. These firms may bear some of the conventional country characteristics (e.g., United Kingdom, Germany, France), but at the same time they seem to exhibit some unique characteristics of being "European" enterprises. This chapter compares firms from various European countries to firms of other regional groupings (e.g., Japanese, American, and/or Asian). It differs from previous approaches that emphasize finding unique characteristics of British, French, and/or German firms.

To understand behaviors of European companies, this chapter used firm specific data on how companies entered one of the largest markets in the world--China. The choice of China as a context offered some advantages. First, as one of the first planned economies to experiment freely with the market system, the China experience may provide some insights as to how the Eastern European countries, in which many European companies are active, may develop. Second, since its modernization, China has gone through a number of critical economic and political changes, so that the data set (from 1979 to 1991) may offer some insights as to how European firms adapted their strategies to this changing host environment. Third, China has attracted an unprecedented number of foreign businesses. Accordingly, the data offered a rich array of business strategies adopted by the investing firms from various countries.

This chapter focuses on how European companies venture into China. Four dimensions of their operations are examined. They include entry mode (export

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