Since the 2008 financial crisis, the Asian economies have been an engine of global economic growth. For example, China’s GDP has occupied the No. 2 position worldwide since 2012 and India has entered the list of top-10 economies since 2014. Accordingly, Asia has become a central topic in global business and strategic management, and has attracted both abundant attention and substantial investment from global firms.
However, the rise of Asia comes together with major challenges, especially in terms of massive transformation in its fundamental economic, social, political, and legal institutions. The recent anti-corruption campaign in China, for example, has profoundly shaped the ways of doing business there. The change of leadership in India has also created new ways of thinking and the development of new business models. How, then, can companies most effectively address the challenges brought by such changes? At the same time, there has been uneven development among the countries of the Asian region, as evidenced by various data on economic growth and social conditions. Companies from inside and outside the region have been closely following these developments and constantly exploring and developing location-specific advantages associated with their firm-specific assets.
Furthermore, the rapid growth of the Internet in Asia now offers potential opportunities for Asian firms to leap-frog their counterparts in North America and Europe. Interestingly, most of the international internet giants such as Amazon and Google are now facing strong competition from Asian competitors such as Alibaba and Baidu. And Asian firms are taking proactive and sometimes highly risky approaches such as mergers and acquisitions to globalize their operations, as shown by Tata’s acquisition of Land Rover and Jaguar and Geely’s acquisition of Volvo.
What innovation models are particularly effective in Asian societies? What are the unique challenges of internationalization facing emerging market firms? What are the globalization paths they commonly follow? Given the unequal economic development and rising concerns about environmental and social issues in Asia, how should local and multinational companies approach corporate social responsibility and sustainable development?
Given these important questions and substantial challenges, we have developed the 3-Is (Institutions, Innovation, and Internationalization) as the theme for this special conference and call for contextualizing strategic management research and practice in Asia. Scholars will explore the limits of trying to apply existing theoretical perspectives in Asia, develop Asia-specific management theory and propose new theories tailored for Asian contexts. After all, Asian governments are pushing forward pro-market reforms, and their policy changes provide an ideal context for natural experiments relating to ownership structure and governance practices, some of which are now unique to Asian countries. The emerging mixed ownership structures enable scholars to explore the potential of cooperation between public and private actors with differing social and economic interests. How can the public sector learn from the private sector through such cooperation, and vice versa? And what are the strategic choices and their performance implications for mixed-ownership enterprises?
As Asian governments have been striving to upgrade the industrial structure of their economies they have often called for organizations to cultivate innovation capability. Different paths to this goal have emerged. Some Asian firms have proved capable of developing an ability to innovate faster and more efficiently than their western counterparts. What are the impacts of national context on a firm’s chances of developing a distinctive innovation capability? How do government policies facilitate or hinder a firm’s efforts in this area?
Increasingly, foreign firms are facing a more challenging competitive landscape in Asia’s emerging markets. On the one hand, economic growth has been slowing in those emerging economies, putting pressure on multinational firms pursuing growth. On the other hand, government policy is turning against multinational firms in some jurisdictions. China, in particular, has recently launched several investigations of multinational firms’ allegedly-monopolistic market positions. In such an unfavorable environment, what are the most effective strategies for multinational firms compelled to react?
Track Chair: Klaus Meyer, Ivey Business School
Track Chair: Jonathan Doh, Villanova University
Track Chair: Jaeyong Song, Seoul National University
Track Chair: Haibin Yang, City University of Hong Kong
Track Chair: Jiangyong Lu, Peking University
Track Chair: Shige Makino, Chinese University of Hong Kong