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Special Issue: The Globalization of China

Special issue call for papers from International Journal of Emerging Markets

Guest Editors:

Byung Il Park, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, South Korea

Kwangho Kim, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, South Korea
Christoph Lattemann, Jacobs University Bremen, Germany
Wenxian Zhang, Rollins College, USA


Purpose and Research Questions:

Following the rapid economic growth of China during the last few decades, Chinese multinational corporations (MNCs) have emerged as a force to be reckoned with and many of them have turned into new global giants (e.g., Huawei, Xiaomi and Lenovo and so on) in the world economic arena (Alon et al., 2011; Gugler & Vanoli, 2015; Yang & Stoltenberg, 2014). Both state-owned and private Chinese MNCs successfully internationalized their business operations, and thus their presence is often considered as a formidable power in developing countries. For instance, the number of Chinese companies in the ‘Global Fortune 500’ has more than doubled to 85 companies in 2013, versus 42 in 2010 (Fortune, 2010; 2013). By this measure, China recently overtook Japan, which has 62 companies on the Fortune list, and trails only the US, which still holds the top spot with 132 companies.
Despite the rise of Chinese MNCs as the part of emerging market firms, our understanding of these firms still remains in its infancy (Alon et al., 2012; Jansson & Söderman, 2015). While scholars have investigated diverse topics on MNCs, existing studies have developed theories by predominately focusing on MNCs from the developed (Western) countries. Thus, conventional theories on international business (IB), such as internalization perspective (Buckley & Casson, 1976; 1999; Rugman & Verbeke, 1995) and OLI paradigm (Dunning, 1993; 2000) might not be sufficiently applicable to emerging market multinationals, such as Chinese MNCs considering the difference in culture, political and economic systems, foreign direct investment motivations and governance structure between emerging markets and the developed countries (the challenges that Chinese MNCs may encounter, their behavioral patterns, and the ways that they localize, etc. might be highly dissimilar to those of Western MNCs in developed markets) (Lattemann & Alon, 2015).
For example, imbalance theory (Moon & Roehl, 2001) argues that the conventional theories (i.e., internalization perspective and OLI paradigm) are not satisfactory in providing adequate explanations for the rich variety of FDI activities observed from Chinese MNCs based on emerging markets. The imbalance theory suggests that Chinese MNCs often undertake FDI to build new assets which will strengthen the firm’s own arsenal of resources for future competition. Resource dependence theory (Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978) also points out that no one firm possesses sufficient resources to efficiently compete against other rivals in the global arena and thus the former needs to look for complementary resources that are not available internally from external environments (refer to the acquisition of IBM’s personal computer business by Lenovo and Shanghai General Motors’ takeover for Ssangyong Motor Company operating in South Korea). According to the uppsala model (Johanson & Vahlne, 1977), the typical strategy of these Chinese firms is to accumulate experience from the domestic market to some extent and then gradually intensify their activities in foreign markets. Based on these discussions, we believe that this is an appropriate time to try to refine mainstream IB theories considering multinationalization primarily as the outcome of competitive advantage based on possession of unique assets (Moon & Roehl, 2001). In addition, IB researchers should attempt to explore an evolution of the theoretical domains by synthesizing a variety of FDI motivations, much of which are not well explained by ownership-specific and internalization advantage approaches.
Thus, this special issue aims to improve our understanding on Chinese MNCs as well as to offer a unique opportunity to re-consider diverse extant theories on MNCs by promoting an extension to account for emerging market MNCs. Investigating Chinese MNCs can provide appropriate implications for other MNCs from emerging economies. We seek papers that advance theoretical perspectives, which are able to integrate the extant theoretical lens into Chinese MNCs, provide valuable insights and new knowledge and subsequently offer implications for MNCs from emerging markets.
We invite submissions from scholars who, individually or collectively, draw on varied theoretical perspectives, adopt diverse empirical approaches, and investigate at multiple levels of analysis. We seek both theoretical and empirical papers that may address, but are not limited to, the following list of potential research questions:
·       How can extant literature combine existing international business theories with foreign direct investment motivations undertaken by Chinese MNCs?
·       What are critical factors positively affecting Chinese MNCs’ successful transformation into global giants?
·       What are the challenges that particularly Chinese MNCs may encounter in their global business operations and what are the critical determinants helping Chinese MNCs to overcome such challenges?
·       Are business operations and strategies of Chinese MNCs different between the developed and the developing countries?
·       Do state-owned Chinese MNCs and private Chinese MNCs show different globalization patterns and different performance outcomes?
·       To what degree, can the existing theories on MNCs that mainly reflect Western MNCs’ perspective be applicable to Chinese MNCs?
·       How do Chinese MNCs improve their image and reputation as creative and innovative?

Submission Instructions:

Please submit your paper to the journal’s online system at by May 31, 2017. (For further information of International Journal of Emerging Markets, including style guidelines, please visit the International Journal of Emerging Markets website at:
All submissions will be subject to the regular double-triple peer review process at the International Journal of Emerging Markets. The guest editors are seeking reviewers for this issue and are soliciting nominations and volunteers to participate as reviewers. Please contact the guest editors to volunteer or nominate a reviewer.

More Information:

To obtain additional information, please contact the guest editors:
Byung Il Park, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, South Korea ([email protected])
Kwangho Kim, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, South Korea ([email protected])
Christoph Lattemann, Jacobs University Bremen, Germany ([email protected])
Wenxian Zhang, Rollins College, USA ([email protected])


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Janssen, H., & Söderman, S. (2015). International strategic management hybrids in China. International Journal of Emerging Markets, 10(2), 209-223.
Johanson, J., & Vahlne, J. E. (1977). The internationalization process of the firm - model of knowledge development and increasing foreign market commitments. Journal of International Business Studies, 8(1), 23-32.
Lattemann, C, & Alon, I (2015). The rise of Chinese multinationals: A strategic threat or an economic opportunity?, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, 16(1), 168-175.
Moon, H-C., & Roehl, T. W. (2001). Unconventional foreign direct investment and the imbalance theory. International Business Review, 10, 197-215.
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Rugman, A. M., & Verbeke, A. (1995). Transnational networks and global competition: An organizing framework. Research in Global Strategic Management, 5, 3-23.
Yang, X., & Stoltenberg, C. D. (2014). A review of institutional influences on the rise of made-in-China multinationals. International Journal of Emerging Markets, 9(2), 162-180.