The Rise of the New Multinationals

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Professors Guillén and García-Canal investigate the proliferation of the new multinationals. Many of these firms were marginal competitors until recently and are now challenging the world’s most accomplished and established multinationals. In their article they examine some fundamental questions in relation to this phenomenon. What common distinctive features do these firms share that sets them apart from traditional multinational enterprises? What advantages have made it possible for them to operate and compete not only in host countries at the same or lower level of economic development but also in the richest economies? How have they been able to expand abroad at such speed, defying conventional wisdom in relation to international expansion? In answering these questions they redefine the established theory of the MNE. They find that in effect, globalization, technical change, and the coming of age of the emerging countries have facilitated the rise of a new type of MNE in which foreign direct investment is driven not only by the exploitation of firm-specific competences but also by the exploration of new patterns of innovation and ways of accessing markets.