Entry into China: Do small firms do better and why?

Date: 29 July 2013

Venue: Lecture Theatre 2, Rutherford House

Speaker: Professor Marshall W Meyer

Seminar overview

The conventional wisdom is that larger firms with greater firepower do better when they invest abroad. This is a version of the MITI model of outward FDI, where the winners in the domestic market “go out” once they have achieved market dominance at home. The question is whether China inverts the conventional wisdom such that smaller firms do better.

Several strands of research point in this direction including results on (1) firm size and successful entry into China, (2) regional market concentration and firm performance within China, and (3) firm decentralization and successful entry into Chinese rural markets.

Overall, the evidence indicates that firms that are small or capable of acting as if they are small will do better in China. An inference is that firms based in small countries may also do better.

About the speaker

Marshall Meyer was named Tsai Wan-Tsai Professor in the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania effective July 1, 2010, where he is also Professor of Management, Professor of Sociology, Associate Member of the Center for East Asian Studies, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Center for the Study of Contemporary China. He has been a visiting professor in the Faculty of Business Administration at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University, and the School of Business and Management at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He was also a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation in 1993-94.

Professor Meyer is executive senior editor of Management and Organization Review, the journal of the International Association for Chinese Management Research and a member of the editorial advisory board of the International Journal of Emerging Markets. He was Associate Editor of Administrative Science Quarterly from 1987 to 1995 and has served on the editorial boards of the American Sociological Review, Social Forces, Contemporary Sociology, the Arnold and Caroline Rose Monograph Series of the American Sociological Association, Organization Studies, Social Science Quarterly, and Computational Statistics and Data Analysis.