International knowledge flows and innovation are becoming ever more important to the competitiveness of multinational corporations. Emerging market multinationals (EMNCs) in specific are deploying increasingly activist measures to harness foreign sources of knowledge and innovation as a strategy to build up their firm-specific resources and capabilities. In the following, we argue that EMNCs' strategic asset-seeking investments constitute a particularly interesting class of investments, as it presents important challenges to international business theory, firm strategy and public policy. We argue that outward investment to acquire strategic assets abroad at the scale we observe today is a recent addition to the instrument set deployed by emerging economies for development. We proceed to discuss how this type of investments does not sit well with mainstream international business theory and propose ways in which this disagreement can be reconciled through recognition of other EMNC advantages, particularly abilities to leverage country-specific assets, and possession and development of dynamic capabilities. Finally, we identify a set of core themes in the recent literature on strategic asset-seeking investments and relate them to the contributions in the current special issue. We conclude with outlining an agenda of future research.
- Emerging market multinationals
- Outward foreign direct investment
- Strategic asset-seeking investment
- Firm-specific advantage
- Dynamic capabilities