Internationalization of Chinese Tech Companies: And Why They Have Not Become Global Companies

Marcus Woldsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The emergence of China as an economic powerhouse, have seen China’s global influence rise dramatically. China has for a long period been known for manufacturing cheap goods, earning itself the nickname of the World’s factory. As of today, most people will arguably, whether knowingly or not, own goods that are produced in China. Recent years, however, have seen China shift towards a more innovation-driven economic model, which have laid the foundation for the rise of large, competitive, Chinese technology-based companies. Out of the twenty most valuable internet-based companies, nine are Chinese with the rest being American, topped by Apple and Amazon. Still, while the American tech giants can be considered international powerhouses, the Chinese equivalent have not yet shown up to the global stage. This thesis strives to seek an understanding of the phenomenon of why Chinese tech companies have not become globalized alongside China’s turn into a highly influential economic powerhouse. Therefore, the following research question has been applied: Why have large Chinese tech companies not yet become truly global companies? This paper will seek to shed light on the research question through two steps. The study will initiate with a systematic literature review, outlining the most relevant contributions of academia, and guiding our knowledge and understanding of internationalization in the Chinese context. The systematic literature review suggests a research gap. Most scholarly attention have been aimed towards more general explanations of internationalization of Chinese firms, and not specific breeds of firms, including tech-companies Based on the systematic literature review, a theoretical model will be established, and its applicability and implications discussed. Based on existing literature and the discussion of it, this paper challenges common notions of Chinese internationalization as a consequence of competitive disadvantages vis-à-vis competitors, and proposes a framework based on characteristics of the Chinese tech industry, and the importance of the institutional environment as a catalyst for becoming a truly global company.

EducationsMSc in International Business, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages78