Emerging market multinationals and the concept of ownership advantages

Peter Williamson, Feng Wan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
359 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to re-assess the concept of ownership advantages in the light of successful international expansion of multinationals from emerging economies (EMNEs) and explore how these advantages are built.

Design/methodology/approach: The paper presents a viewpoint based on analysis of the successful international expansion of a sample of Chinese EMNEs where success is measured their ability win share in overseas markets. This allows us to identify their ownership advantages, the antecedents of these advantages and how they were built using dynamic capabilities.

Findings: EMNEs have “non-traditional” ownership advantages that have been built by finding innovative ways to leverage the locational advantages of their home countries. The conversion of locational advantages into ownership advantages requires that firms build dynamic capabilities that enable them to innovate in the use of the locational advantages they enjoy.

Research limitations/implications: The study is limited to a small sample of EMNEs from China who have succeeded in winning market share in the initial phases of their international expansion. In the light of these limitations, the authors discuss the question the sustainability of their competitive advantage as well as the likely applicability of our findings to EMNEs from other EMNEs.

Originality/value: The authors revisit the paradox that despite the growth and success of multinationals from EMNEs in the past decade they are assumed to lack ownership advantages. The authors show that EMNEs’ ownership advantages differ from the traditional advantages such proprietary technologies and brand equity that are enjoyed by incumbent multinationals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-567
JournalInternational Journal of Emerging Markets
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2018


  • China
  • International expansion
  • Dynamic capabilities
  • Emerging markets
  • Multinationals
  • Sustainable competitive advantage
  • Global competition
  • Locational advantages
  • Ownership advantages

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