Journal of International Business Studies

, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 215-230

First online:

The regional nature of Japanese multinational business

  • Simon CollinsonAffiliated withWarwick Business School, The University of Warwick Email author 
  • , Alan M RugmanAffiliated withKelley School of Business, Indiana University

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In the world's largest 500 firms, there are 64 Japanese multinational enterprises (MNEs) with data on regional sales, but only three operate globally; whereas 57 of them average over 80% of their sales and foreign assets in their home region. Why is there such a strong intra-regional dimension to their activities? Using empirical data and a new framework for analysing both downstream (sales) assets and upstream (production) assets we analyse why most large Japanese firms appear to have firm-specific advantages (FSAs) that are based in their home region. A structural contingency approach is applied to two case studies to explain how home-region-bound FSAs constrained the ability of Japanese MNEs to implement internationalisation strategies.


Japan multinational enterprises firm-specific advantage regional strategy structural contingency approach internationalisation