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Market Entry Modes Essay Checker

I am an experienced educator and strategy consultant with a business management degree and a Master of Business Administration qualification from Oxford. I have taught business management and marketing subjects at universities and I have worked in the private sector as a management consultant helping clients to improve their business processes and grow their business. I am passionate about research and the application of new knowledge to advance academic theories and business practice. My area of subject expertise includes: business strategy, entrepreneurship, operations management, supply chain management, organisational analysis, creativity and innovation, strategic human resource management, new venture creation and marketing.

The entry modes for international/foreign market operations.

 

Essay: Critically discuss the various modes of entry for which an organisation can internationalise their operations. Is there one mode that is preferred above others?

Introduction

This essay will discuss the entry modes for international/foreign market operations. Foreign market entry mode decisions are typically influenced by company and target market factors such as: the organisation’s objectives, its international experience, internal resources and capabilities, investment risk, government requirements, environment, access to local knowledge and partners and ease of access to capital and other resources. This essay will argue that there is no one mode that is universally preferred above others; rather, appropriate entry mode decisions should be made based on careful consideration of the organisation’s objectives and circumstance.

Reasons for internationalising business operations

Organisations engage in international business operations for various reasons including globalisation, saturation of home market, lower production costs in the host country, favourable foreign market environment and attractive foreign investment policies, with the ultimate goal of increasing profit, expansion and tackling competition. A major decision for organisations engaging in international operations is that of how to enter a foreign market once it has chosen the target market it wants to operate in (Kumar & Subramaniam, 1997; Twarowska & Kakol, 2013; Wach, 2014).

How an organisation’s international operation is structured and delivered is very much determined by its entry mode/strategy. Hence, the entry mode is a key strategic decision that defines subsequent decisions and actions of the organisation and its performance in the target market (Kumar, Stam & Joachimsthaler, 1994; Kumar & Subramaniam, 1997).

Foreign Market Entry Modes

The international business and marketing literature classify entry modes for international business operations into the following categories based on the risk-return trade-off, degree of control, and resource commitment: exporting, contractual agreements, wholly owned subsidiaries and strategic alliances. These modes can be segmented into non-equity (export and contractual agreements) and equity (strategic alliances and wholly-owned subsidiaries) modes (Mpofu & Chigwende, 2013).

The decision about whether an organisation implements an equity or non-equity foreign market entry strategy is best determined by the organisation’s objectives and circumstance. Within that decision, and depending on the organisation’s capability and level of international experience, there are also choices to be made regarding specific equity or non-equity entry modes to be implemented (Hibbert, 1997; Kumar & Subramaniam, 1997).

Non-equity foreign market entry modes

Exporting:

Exporting is the direct or indirect sale of goods and services produced in one country to other countries. Exporting offers the lowest level of risk and the least market control.  It is a non-equity method of international business operations and can be broadly classified into direct exporting, indirect exporting and cooperative exporting (Wach, 2014).

With direct exporting, the exporter makes direct contact with customers in the foreign market and has control over its product and distribution. Types of direct exporting include: own sales subsidiary/distribution network, own representative office for marketing, sales, and consultation in the foreign market, foreign agents acting on behalf of the exporter and foreign distributors (Wach, 2014).

Indirect exporting involves the use of local intermediaries in foreign markets to facilitate the supply/distribution process and the exporter has no control over its products and distribution. Forms of indirect exports include: export trading companies, export management companies, export merchants, confirming houses, and nonconforming purchasing agents (Wach, 2014).

Direct exporting and indirect exporting share similar characteristics as both offer relatively low cost and low risk entry modes (Arnold, 2003). However, direct exporting may incur additional costs, for example, in the set up and operation of representative offices. There is also the risk of low profitability and barriers to developing in-house local knowledge in indirect exports or when foreign agents are used in direct exporting (Wach, 2014).

The third form of exporting, cooperative exporting, is one in which organisations enter into an agreement with a foreign/local organisation to use its distribution network, hence bypassing barriers and risks associated with other market entry modes.  Cooperative exporting is particularly favourable to small- and medium-sized firms because of the resource advantages and the accelerated access to markets it offers (Wach, 2014).

Export grouping/consortium and piggybacking are the two main forms of cooperative exporting.  With an export consortium, members benefit from joint promotion of products and services and the cost of exporting is spread (Wach, 2014). Piggybacking is an arrangement between a rider (a small/micro business) and a carrier (a larger organisation) in which the carrier is an international business operator offering the rider access to its foreign distribution network for a commission/charge (Terpstra & Chwo‐Ming 1990). The carrier often benefits from the complementary product lines and reduction of the costs of its distribution network; however it runs the risk of dilution or damage to its reputation if the rider’s products are of lesser quality. The rider enjoys the benefits of access to the carrier’s foreign distribution network but loses control over the distribution of its product (Wach, 2014).

Contractual Agreements:

Contractual agreements are cooperative modes in which an organisation enters into a contract with foreign partners to deliver its operations abroad. Examples include international licencing, franchising, subcontracting and assembly operations.

In international licensing, the licensor enters into a contractual agreement with a foreign entity (the licensee) that gives the licensee rights to use the assets of the licensor (Wach, 2014). The licensor typically possesses intangible assets such as technology, trademark, know-how, patents or other intellectual property that it makes available to the licensee. The licensee would typically pay an initial fee and/or percentage of sales to the licensor. The effectiveness of this form of contractual agreement is affected by the host government’s commitment to intellectual property rights and the ability of the licensor to choose the right licensing partners (Wach, 2014). Licensing is attractive to companies that are new to international business because it can be easily tailored to the needs of both parties. It also provides entrance into new markets that are not accessible through exporting and it involves relatively low risk and low capital requirement (Friesner, 2014).

Disadvantages associated with international licensing as an entry mode include loss of intellectual property/dilution of firm specific advantages through transfer of know-how, risk of poor choice of licensee leading to damaged reputation or loss of brand quality, and risk of the licensee becoming a future competitor to the licensor (Brouthers, 2013; Friesner, 2014; Wach, 2014).

International franchising is another form of contractual agreement similar to licensing, in which the franchisor makes its business model or trademark available to the franchisee for the sale of its products or services. In return, the franchisee pays a fee or royalty to the franchisor (Malhotra et al., 2003). The low start-up cost associated with this entry mode highly favours SMEs, and is particularly attractive to small and micro enterprises (Wach, 2014). A franchise agreement may provide the franchisee with access to the franchisor’s equipment, business model, training, trademark/brand name, operations and management. It may also impose restrictions/guidelines on how the franchisee may use the franchise (Mpofu & Chigwende, 2013). Franchising is a less risky and accelerated form of foreign market entry mode because it is based on an already successful business model, the franchisee typically has local knowledge and it allows simultaneous access to multiple foreign markets. Hence, the franchisor is protected from typical risks associated with foreign market operations (Mpofu & Chigwende, 2013). However, there are other problems that the franchisor may have to contend with, such as: legal disputes with the franchisee, monitoring and managing the performance of the franchisee, preserving the franchisor’s image/brand quality, and the risk of the franchisee becoming a future competitor (Wach, 2014). Overall, the benefits associated with franchising are seen to outweigh the associated risks and hence it is a popular foreign market entry and expansion mode (Hoy & Stanworth, 2003; Cavusgil et al., 2008; Decker, 2013). Well known examples of successful franchises include KFC, McDonalds, Subway, and Dominoes. These brands were able to rapidly expand their operations globally using the franchise platform in a way that would not have been possible through any other foreign market entry strategy.

Subcontracting − turnkey operations: turnkey operations refer to projects in which the exporter (seller) is paid by a contractor (buyer) to design and build complete, ready-to-operate facilities. Turnkey is a way by which a foreign company can export its processes and technology to other countries, especially industrial companies who need to export their entire system to a foreign country, such as those in the chemical, mining or petroleum industries  (Evans, 2005; Wach, 2014). With turnkey, there is the potential risk of company secrets leaking to competitors and of the plant being taken over by the government. Large turnkey projects could also suffer costly delays due to restrictive regulations. However, this entry mode is particularly advantageous for industrial companies that specialize in complex production technologies as it offers access to establishing a plant in a foreign country where direct investment is restricted (Evans, 2005).

Equity based foreign market entry modes

Equity-based market entry modes are investment models whereby a company either establishes a wholly-owned subsidiary, with 100 per cent ownership or a joint venture subsidiary, with less than 100 per cent ownership. A subsidiary is a separate legal entity operating under the laws of its country of foreign location. However, in legal terms, subsidiaries are created in one of the legal forms of economic activities occurring in the law of the host country (Buckley & Casson, 1998; Wach, 2014).

Wholly-owned subsidiaries are established either through acquisitions, whereby the organisation acquires a foreign company to enter a foreign market or through greenfield operations, which involves building a new organisation from start.  With acquisition, the organisation is able to limit its risk and maximise its access to the foreign market because of the already established brand name and customer-base of the acquired company, which provides it with accelerated access to, and a foothold in the foreign market. Hence, acquisition can potentially be the quickest route to entering and expanding in foreign markets through equity (Buckley & Casson, 1998; Wach, 2014).

Greenfield operations offer a more expensive equity mode of foreign market entry due to the costs of establishing a new business in a new country and the time consuming process it entails; however, it is gives full control to the parent company and has the potential to produce above average returns (Wach, 2014).

Both modes are based on foreign direct investment and provide relatively lower production costs and a direct presence in the foreign market. However, from a strategic perspective, acquisition strategy is likely the more effective choice in service industries where customer relationships, specialised know-how and customisation are critical. Greenfield investment, on the other hand, is likely to be more suited to projects involving capital intensive plants, where there are no suitable platforms to acquire already established competitive advantages such as skills and embedded capabilities (Buckley & Casson, 1998; Wach, 2014).

The final form of equity-based market entry mode discussed is the joint venture subsidiary. An international joint venture (JV) is a collaborative equity strategy in which the organisation has joint control, with minority shares or majority shares in a foreign company. In JVs, investors share ownership, control, risk, reward and proprietary rights (Durmaz & Tasdemir, 2014). Primary reasons for forming a JV include sharing resources and leveraging on the combined strengths of the partners to achieve common objectives such as government requirements and access to new markets that the partners cannot achieve alone (Wach, 2014). The shared risk and the combined assets and resources of the partners help to reduce investment costs, hence making JVs an attractive entry mode for risky markets (Durmaz and Tasdemir, 2014). Potential problems that could arise with JVs include: how to manage proprietary rights, disagreement over reward formula, cultural clashes and how to exit (Chang et al., 2012). Environmental factors also play a significant role in this entry mode. Studies indicate that the greater the perceived distance between the home and host country in terms of culture, economic systems, and business practices, the more likely it is that an international organisation will adopt a joint venture as an entry mode (Koch, 2001).

To summarise, it is clear from the entry modes discussed that there are a variety of reasons why organisations engage in international business and that the entry modes adopted differ for various reasons. Likewise, entry modes vary in the degree of risk, control, resource commitment and reward.  When an organisation enters a foreign market, it is important to understand where they are positioned in relation to these variables in order to enable the right decisions about which markets to enter, the segments to focus on, the structural form to take, the level of investment and how to manufacture, market and sell its product/service. Hence, organisations have to determine which entry mode will give them the best chance of succeeding in their target market based on their goals and weighing their strengths and limitations.

Conclusion

Based on the argument presented above, the author is of the opinion that there is no one market entry mode that is to be preferred above all others. Organisations wanting to internationalize their operations must perform prior due diligence including political, economic, financial, internal, environmental and cultural analyses, in order to determine which of the foreign market entry modes would be appropriate for its objectives, risk-return profile and control requirements as well as any other vital requirements peculiar to the organisation’s circumstance.

Reference list

Arnold, A. (2003) Mirage of Global Markets: How Globalizing Companies Can Succeed as Markets Localize.  FT Press.

Brouthers, K. (2013) Institutional, Cultural, and Transaction Cost influences on Entry Mode Choice and Performance. International Business Studies. Vol. 44 (1) pp. 203-221. Buckley, P.J. and Casson, M.C. (1998) Analyzing foreign market entry strategies: Extending the internalization approach. Journal of International Business Studies.  [Online] Third Quarter 29(3) ABI/INFORM Global pp. 539.

Cavusgil,T., Knight,G.and Riesenberger,J. (2008) International Business – Strategy, Management and the New Realities, Pearson

Decker, B. (2014) Going Global with Your Business: Modes of Entry [Online] Available from: http://www.vistage.com/resource/going-global-business-modes-entry/   Date Accessed: 30/04/15

Durmaz, Y., and Taşdemir, A. (2014) A Theoretical Approach to the Methods Introduction to International Markets. International Journal of Business and Social Science. Vol. 5, 6(1) pp.48-54.

Chang, S., Chung, J., Moon, J. (2012). When do wholly owned subsidiaries perform better than joint ventures?. Strategic Management Journal. [Online] Vol. 34 (3). pp. 317- 337. Available from: http://www.iacmr.org/V2/Publications/CMI/EH030301_EN.pdf

Evans, R. (2005) Report on a turnkey project for Apple’s iPod in Nigeria, Maryland: University of Maryland University College [Online] Available from: http://globalitek.homestead.com/Rachael_-_Turnkey_projects_Nigeria_and_iPod.pdf

Friesner, T. (2014) Modes of Entry into International Markets (Place) [Online] Available from: http://www.marketingteacher.com/modes-of-entry-into-international-markets-place/ Date Accessed: 30/04/15

Hibbert, E. P. (1997) International Business Strategy and Operations.  London Macmillan Press.

Hoy, F. and Stanworth, J. (2003) Franchising: An international Perspective, Routledge

Koch, A. (2001) Factors influencing market and entry mode selection: developing the MEMS model, Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 19 (5), pp.351 – 361.

Kumar, V., Stam, A. and Joachimsthaler, E. A. (1994) “An Interactive Multicriteria approach to identifying potential foreign markets”, Journal of International Marketing. Vol. 2 (1), pp. 29-52.

Kumar, V. and Subramaniam, V. (1997) “A Contingency Framework for the Mode of Entry Decision”, Journal of World Business. Vol. 32 (1), pp. 53-72.

Malhotra, N., Agarwal, J.and Ulgado, F. (2003) Internationalization and entry modes: A multi-theoretical framework and research propositions. Journal of International Marketing. Vol. 11 (4), 1-31.

Twarowska, K. and Kakol, M. (2013) “International Business Strategy: Reasons and Forms of Expansion into Foreign Markets”, Management, Learning and Knowledge International Conference. [Online] Available from: http://www.toknowpress.net/ISBN/978-961-6914-02-4/papers/ML13-349.pdf

Terpstra, V. and Chwo‐Ming, J. Y. (1990) “Piggybacking: A Quick Road to Internationalisation”, International Marketing Review. [Online] Vol. 7 (4). Available from: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/

Wach, K. (2014). Market Entry Modes for International Business (chapter 7). In: E. Horská (Ed.). International Marketing: Within and Beyond Visegrad Borders. Kraków: Wydawnictwo Episteme. [Online] pp. 135-147. Available from: ttps://www.academia.edu/10311207/Market_entry_modes_for_international_businesses_chapter_7_

 

List of Contents

List of Abbreviations

1 Introduction

2 Foreign Markets Entry Mode
2.1 Overview
2.2 Joint Ventures

3 Example: Volkswagen and SAIC Motors

4 Conclusion

Bibliography

List of Abbreviations

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1 Introduction

Globalization, in recent times, has generated a lot of interest in the business world. More companies are now seeking to escape their comfort zones (home markets) and enter into international markets to expand their businesses. Internationalization has seen several factors as its driving force. More countries have opened their markets to foreign entrants through liberalization and deregulation of previous trade-inhibiting laws. Consumers, in most parts of the world, have also exhibited a homogenous behavior that encourages internationalization. Products that sell well in one part of the world have shown the likelihood to perform the same in other areas, which has motivated more companies to explore international markets.

Other external driving factors are an improvement in technology and logistics. It is now possible for companies to communicate and track the activities of each of its subsidiaries or branches in the world.[1] Technology has offered a business with an appropriate infrastructure that ensures smooth running of their affairs worldwide. Some products also exhibit shorter life cycles; thus, limiting the amount a company can produce. Internationalization offers such company's ability to produce more by expanding their reach beyond local/home markets. Expansion into international markets by a company is motivated by several factors. One of the major factors is to spur growth and increase profitability.

Many companies are seeking to enter into foreign markets to expand their influence and increase their sales and revenue. Internationalization for such companies means an access to a wider customer base, which implies more product sales and more revenues. Expanding the size and scope helps achieve the economies of scale.[2] This affords the company an opportunity to spread its risks across markets and ease the risks' hold on the company. International markets enable them to increase their product volume, which causes a reduction in the unit price of the product. Additionally, selling products across different countries helps a company diversify risks by reducing its exposure to political and economic instability within single markets.

China, in the recent past, has proved to be a major player in the economy of the world. China has the fastest growth rate of any economy in the world (9%) and currently stands as the world's third largest economy.[3] By 2050, China will become the world's largest economy if it keeps at its current growth. China's middle-class, which is the category involved with most of the purchases done in the world, comprises of more than six hundred million people with their economic status rising day by day.[4] Therefore, China presents an excellent market for the products of most companies. As a result, many companies seeking to enter international markets see China as their first choice. A company has always had to decide on the appropriate strategy towards market entry and the proper mode to enter a market.

This term paper will firstly give an overview about the existing foreign market entry modes. Secondly there is a description of the joint ventures in general by analyzing the typical the motives and risks for using this specific mode of entry to internationalize. In the end of the second part the issue of the situation on the Chinese market is broached to lead the reader to the concrete business case of Volkswagen and SAIC Motors in the third part. At the end this paper gives a short conclusion by evaluating the success of this joint venture on the Chinese market.

2 Foreign Markets Entry Mode

2.1 Overview

In today's global economy, there are several ways through which a company may seek to enter into a foreign international market. Foreign market entry methods vary in their suitability to a particular international market, including the safety and practicality of the method. Companies take the time to consider all the options available for the entry methods before deciding on which one to adopt. Entry methods can be broadly categorized into two groups: strategic alliances and standalone entries.[5] In typical cases, a company would not choose to share in the profits it expects from a given market, but alliances are sometimes chosen because starting from scratch is an expensive endeavor and riskier in international territories.[6]

Some of the inadequacies that result in a company choosing to form alliances include knowledge and experience about the market, technology, regulations involving companies, and restrictive laws that prohibit foreign investors from starting their venture. Strategic alliances are of a complimentary nature. A foreign company looking for partnership with a local company is usually interested in the resources of the local company that could help establish its presence in that market.[7] The local company too looks out for resources that a foreign investor has that could increase their presence in the local market.

Types of strategic alliances available for companies to choose from include contract manufacturing, exporting, licensing, franchising, and joint ventures. Standalone entries are usually chosen by companies that believe in their capacity to take risks and are ready to take time and study the new market while they do business. Such companies invest in information gathering to ensure they have knowledge on market trends, consumer preferences, and other aspects that influence the given market to make informed decisions on their way forward.

Contract manufacturing is often used as a complement to other strategies, but not as an entry method on its own. A company may sometimes enter a market with an activity that is not core to its business as the manufacturing of consumer goods or clothes. Rather than seeking to establish a more permanent image in the market, the company may choose to contract a local manufacturer of its choice to produce the goods to the specifications of the market. Such companies may be more involved in marketing or research, and contract manufacturing allows them to produce goods to their liking without distracting them from their core business.

Advantages of the approach are that it is less capital intensive, less risky, and has minimal complications when one chooses to exit. Disadvantages are that it offers limited product control in the market and presents a myriad of scalability problems.[8] Contract vendors need to be chosen carefully by any company that chooses to use contract manufacturing as an entry method into foreign markets. For companies that exhibit distinctive and legally protected assets, licensing is an option available to them. The legally protected assets provides a good offer for local companies as they can produce already established brands and share in the profits with the parent company.

Licensing involves developing a contract where a company gives rights to a local company to share in its trademarks, patents, technological know-how, and intellectual property. The local company in return promises to pay royalties to the parent company for using its legally protected assets to conduct business. Licensing has proven to have the capability of delivering a high return on income because little investment is required on the licensors part. However, other potential returns from the market may be lost as the licensee is solely responsible for producing and marketing the product.

Advantages offered by licensing as an entry method into foreign markets include no capital requirements to establish production in the outside market, rapid expansion as the licensing process takes a little time, and more quick returns realized. Another significant advantage is that the business essentially takes a local shape that eliminates barriers such as regulation and local tariffs. The licensing company is thus capable of establishing a market in the new region without fear of the regulations that such regions impose on foreign investors. A disadvantage of licensing is that the licensing company may lose control over marketing and manufacturing over its use of assets.

Franchising is another method used for rapid expansion into a foreign market. It has been very common and successful amongst fast food chains, business services, and consumer service businesses such as car rentals and hotels. Franchising involves one party (the franchiser) granting another (the franchisee) the rights to produce and distribute goods or services in the franchisee's area of interest for a fee. A franchisor capitalizes on intellectual property and the enthusiasm other parties have towards his brand to seek rapid expansion into foreign markets.[9] Some franchise agreements are more sophisticated. They involve arrangements, such as precise business framework that a franchisee should adhere to in carrying out the business to guarantee a common customer experience throughout the franchiser's network.

Franchises are suitable when there is a need to replicate a business model or format. However, one certain limitation of this method is its ability to adapt to a certain market. This is because the guidelines for operating the business are usually fixed; hence, making it a key consideration when one seeks to use the method to enter a foreign market. Major franchisers in the recent past have shown some ability to let their business models adapt to their current markets and suit local preferences. McDonalds, for example, which is a fast food franchise, has let it franchisees in different markets offer different menu items than its parent company in the United States.

Exporting is another method companies can use to seek entry into international markets. This model involves products from one country being marketed and sold in another through distribution channels. Exporting has been the traditional method used by most companies to venture into international markets. It is also the most established form still in existence today. Exporting requires heavy investments in marketing and distribution in the areas of interest. Two forms of export have been in use since the onset of globalization; direct and indirect export.

In direct export, the company appoints a distributor or an agent in its market of interest. The agent is responsible for receiving goods from the company and distributing in the market. The company may also choose to offer competitive bidding for individuals interested in supplying its products in a given region. The individuals are vetted to ensure that they meet the company’s terms and conditions, and at least one of them is offered to distribute the company's products. The arrangement is contractual, and it is usually renewed after a specified time to check compliance of the distributor to the company's terms and conditions. Both the company and the distributors are jointly involved in the marketing of the product in the region.

Indirect export involves exporting goods through export management companies, trading companies, counter-trade, and piggybacking. This mode of export is usually common for raw material commodities such as cocoa, cotton, and tea. The management companies have vast knowledge regarding trade of a particular product in a region, and the exporter relies on this expertise to venture into the market.[10] This offers one of the advantages of indirect exporting; the exporter need not have sufficient knowledge or expertise in the market in which he/she is venturing. Counter-trade involves establishing a trade link with an interested party in the market of interest.

The company is then supposed to supply to the interested party its goods and expect him/her to supply in the local market. However, unlike direct export, the interested party acts as a buyer while the company acts as the seller. The company delivers its products to the buyer, gets paid and waits till the buyer is interested in more products. The company is also required to market the product in the buyer's local market as it will help in liquidating the existing stock and allow the buyer to make more purchase. Indirect exporting is common among pharmaceutical companies as they supply their products to an interested party in a region and visit doctors to create demand and help liquidate the stock.

2.2 Joint Ventures

The joint venture is a form of strategic alliance where a local company and a foreign entrant agree to share equity in running a partnership together.[11] The equity participation of both companies varies concerning their agreement. Major forms include majority stake, equal stake, minority stake or a controlling stake. A joint venture has a number of advantages it affords a foreign entrant. It eliminates the need to start over from scratch in a new territory which could be a risky and a capital intensive endeavor. The local company's distribution, manufacturing, and retailing facilities are also leveraged to produce service to the foreign entrant.

The entrant also benefits from the local company's managerial skills in the local market, which allows for focus in producing products suitable for the market. Joint ventures are a complex and sometimes long process that has had many companies avoid them. The complexities are brought about by the need to adapt to foreign market regulations and the process of reaching into agreeable terms with the local company regarding the sharing of stakes. Most countries have regulations that manage the formation of joint ventures between their local companies and foreign entrants. The regulations are mostly meant to ensure that the people and the economy of the country benefit from the merger as the joint venture will be using resources from the host country.

This particularly becomes sensitive when the host nation is a lower economy compared to the economy of the country of the foreign entrant.[12] China has a policy that requires all foreign companies interested in doing serious businesses in the country to take on joint ventures before setting shop. China uses the policy to ensure that no foreign company is capable of taking over any industry in the country. India also has the same policy, which has seen multinational capable of setting their shop being forced into joint ventures. In such cases, the foreign entrant weighs the benefits of venturing into the market with the risks associated and makes an informed decision.

China has been a preferred market destination for many companies seeking to expand their markets. Since their policy requires a joint venture, most companies have had to weigh the benefits they will accrue before joining the market. China is first known for its affordable labor. A company forming a joint venture with a Chinese local company will benefit from the affordable labor and reduce its production costs significantly. Secondly, China is known as an emerging economy with a growing middle-class population. The middle-class population forms the backbone of most businesses as they are the ones who frequently participate in buying of products.

Currently, China boasts of a middle-class population of six hundred million individuals. This means that for a foreign entrant, there is a market that may yield results if a product is well positioned and marketed to the population. Joint ventures come bundled with a number of risks. The most common one is the complication of the exit strategy if the foreign entrant later wishes to leave the market. An exit strategy is a very important aspect to consider when one joins a foreign market. Due to the nature of joint ventures, foreign entrants find it difficult to leave afterward as the exit strategy is complicated by the agreement between the two companies or government policies. This could spell disaster in a case where a foreign company in a venture is not meeting its objectives and would wish to pull out of the market.

3 Example: Volkswagen and SAIC Motors

Shanghai Automotive Industrial Company (SAIC) entered into a joint venture with Volkswagen in 1984 to form Shanghai Volkswagen.[13] SAIC is a state-owned Chinese automotive manufacturing company while Volkswagen group is a German automotive car manufacturer. According to Holweg & Oliver (2009), Volkswagen was drawn into the Chinese market because of the opportunities it saw of growing its business while reducing its production costs significantly.

China is the world greatest producer and exporter of rare earth metals.[14] Its exports account for 93% of total exports of rare earth metals in the global market. Rare earth metals are vital minerals in manufacturing metal components for cars.

Additionally, rare earth metals are used in the manufacture of electronics that are ubiquitous in cars. For Volkswagen, setting shop in China would mean increasing access to the raw materials involved in cars production thereby cutting down on production costs significantly. China is also a haven for cheap labor. This is largely due to affordable energy costs that are instituted and regulated by the Chinese government. China has huge power projects ranging from hydroelectric to solar power that it uses to encourage investments and spur economic growth. The Chinese government is responsible for setting power tariffs that are usually low to encourage investments. Low energy costs and a huge population that guaranteed affordable labor seemed very attractive to Volkswagen.[15]

In terms of the market, Volkswagen saw a ready and growing market in the Chinese middle-class. Volkswagen was specializing in luxury limousines and family vehicles that are a common buy for the middle-class population. SAIC had succeeded in offering such vehicles to the population, but Volkswagen believed it had something unique to offer. Volkswagen had been in the automotive industry longer than SAIC and had superior technology, design, luxury limousines, and family vehicles. The joint venture enabled SAIC to gain from Volkswagen's expertise that improved its brand power and consumer satisfaction in the market. On the other hand, Volkswagen gained from the increased market presence that vastly increased its revenues.

It also benefited from low production costs in its foreign market, which contributed for great savings. The original contract was to last twenty-five years and was renewed in 2014. The contract requires that Volkswagen owns no more that 50% stake in the joint venture. China is the world largest automobile market with Volkswagen and SAIC joint venture forming the biggest automotive conglomerate. Sales of Volkswagen cars in the global market have increased by 16% due to the merger while sales of SAIC vehicles in China have doubled since the merger. The two companies still enjoy a partnership deal that is to last another twenty-five years.

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[1] Cf. Zucchella, A. et al. (2007), p. 271.

[2] Cf. Li, B., Tu, Y. (2015), p. 3.

[3] Cf. Decker, W. (2004), pp. 102-105.

[4] Cf. Barnett, A. D. (2007).

[5] Cf. Buckley, P. J., Casson, M. C. (2008).

[6] Cf. Hill, C. (2008).

[7] Cf. Johnsohn, J., Tellis, G. J. (2008), pp. 3-7.

[8] Cf. Luo, Y., Tung, R. L. (2007), pp. 483-485.

[9] Cf. Morschett, D. et al. (2010), pp. 60-61.

[10] Cf. Aspelund, A. et al. (2007).

[11] Cf. Oviatt, B. M., McDougall, P. P. (2005), pp. 540-546.

[12] Cf. Zahra, S. A. (2005), p. 23.

[13] Cf. Lockstroem, M. et al. (2010), p. 245.

[14] Cf. Chin, G. T. (2010).

[15] Cf. Chin, G. T. (2010).

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