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Impact of Political Connection Strength on the Internationalization Outcome of Chinese Firms: Perspectives from Market Exploration and Technology Acquisition

Gupeng Zhang (), Qianlong Zhang () and Dujuan Huang ()
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Gupeng Zhang: School of Public Policy and Management, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
Qianlong Zhang: School of Public Policy and Management, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
Dujuan Huang: College of business administration, Anhui University of Finance and Economics, Bengbu 233030, China

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 4, 1-17

Abstract: Although the role of a home country’s government in firms’ internationalization processes has been investigated, there is a gap in the literature concerning the effectiveness of the government’s effort. Based on the data of 1996 Chinese listed firms, this study investigates how the strength of Chinese firms’ political connection with their home country government impacts the outcomes of their internationalization activities. These activities are classified into market exploration and technology acquisition. We establish an index to measure the firms’ political connection strength and find that it exhibits a bimodal distribution, which indicates that some firms maintain a close relationship with the government, while the business activities of others are distant from the government. The strength of the political connection has different moderating effects on firms’ internationalization processes when either the international market context or the firms’ internationalization activities vary. A strong political connection is beneficial for firms to explore the markets and acquire beneficial technology from developed countries. Compared with its role in exploring international markets, political connection plays a more significant moderating role in augmenting the positive effect of international technology acquisition on firms’ innovation capability. Therefore, Chinese firms may perform better in the internationalization process if they maintain a close relationship with the Chinese government, which engages in promoting the internationalization of domestic firms through an array of policies that may compensate for the firms’ disadvantages. Our results show the mechanism through which emerging countries’ governments use directives and incentives to facilitate the internationalization of domestic firms.

Keywords: political connection strength; market exploration; technology acquisition; internationalization; home country government (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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