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role of social networks in the process of internationalization of small-and medium-sized enterprises from China :a case study of DPS technology development Co. Ltd

English Abstract

With the development of the global economy where enterprises from the emerging economies are sprouting up, particularly, the outstanding performance of Chinese firms is impressive and more attention has been directed to their paths of international expansions. Especially in the aftermath of financial crisis, China was considered as the driving force of the global economy for its shift from being a manufacturer to global innovator. However, a multitude of studies on internationalization focus on firms in developed countries, such as Volvo, GE or Sony, etc. Besides, even among the limited studies of internationalization of Chinese firms, the majority of them have largely focused on the patterns of international expansion of high-profile and large companies in China, such as Haier, Huawei or TCL, while studies on the Chinese small and medium-sized enterprises \(SMEs\) are fairly limited. It is surprising when one considers the very significant contributions made by SMEs to the domestic and overseas markets. Indicators show that Chinese SMEs entrepreneurs play a key role in the national economy, and many aim to become a force in the global marketplace through internationalization. Several scholars have called into questions some of the time- and sequencerelated postulates about the internationalization process, such as the I-model, the Umodel or the RBV-model, etc. These models explained gradual internationalization through lack of knowledge concerning foreign markets\/operations and perceived uncertainty of such operations. In fact, information barriers, such as limited information to locate\/analyze markets, inability to contact overseas customer and II identify foreign business opportunities have been found to be substantial barriers to SMEs. Empirical findings prove that social networks are vital to identify new opportunities, to enter global markets and to develop specific competitive advantages through accumulating international knowledge and forming worldwide business linkages. Hence, the focus of this study was to explore how social networks affected the process of internationalization of Chinese small and medium sized enterprises \(SMEs\) by exploring its implications on the strategic and marketing decision-making activities. In this research, a case study was conducted with a Chinese medical equipment company \(DPS Technology Company\) on its usage of social networks in the course of internationalization. It is a SME located in Shenzhen, China, which focuses on medical aesthetic products. Given the need for this in-depth exploratory study, the qualitative research method will be adopted through personal interviews, thus more insightful perspectives can be obtained. The findings show that social networks make important contributions on the international process of the company. It enables the company to search and acquire information to identify opportunities in international markets, to overcome resource and capability limitations and increase the likelihood of success for internationalization, and reduce the uncertainties in a new market and facilitate the exploitation of local market information.

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Li, Qiu Ling


Faculty of Business Administration




Entrepreneurship -- China

Social networks -- Case studies

Business Administration


Hong, Fok Loi

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