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Internationalization of Family-Owned Multinationals

This article presents the internationalization strategy of selected family-run/family-owned multinational companies. The general perspective is to discuss the different internationalization paths presented by different family multinationals and to describe their entry-modes in foreign markets. The cases include family-controlled enterprises from the United States, India, Mexico, South Korea, China, Sweden, and Brazil.


Walmart, a US-based retailer, despite being the world’s largest company by revenue – over US$500 billion (“Walmart Annual Report,” 2018), is a publicly-traded, family-owned business.  With 5,537 stores and distribution centers in the US and 6,360 stores and distribution centers in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Central America, Chile, China, India, Japan, Mexico, UK, and countries in Africa, the company presents a strong international presence (Walmart Annual Report, 2018). However, after an international expansion based on a mix of greenfield projects, such as in Brazil, and acquisitions, such as in Germany (Wertkauf) and in Canada (Woolco), the company faced difficulties to export its successful business model in the US to different, foreign markets. For instance, Walmart broke even in China only in 2010, after 15 long years of investment and had to pull out of Brazil, Germany, and South Korea because the firm struggled to understand the idiosyncrasies of local consumers. China proved to be a difficult market for Walmart because it could not transfer a competitive advantage rooted in supply-chain efficiency in the US to China due to the country’s lack of a sophisticated technological and physical infrastructure. The company learned the hard way that the difficulties involved in an international expansion hit even the best-laid globalization plans from the best multinationals because they tend to assume that their current business model, one they successfully and profitably exploit in their home country, will translate effectively to other countries, yielding similar levels of profitability.

Aspects of Walmart´s Internationalization Strategy

Walmart´s case of troublesome international expansion is caused by two different reasons: (i) difficulties of understanding the local customers, and (ii) difficulties of transplanting a key characteristic of its business model, specifically its supply chain. In the first cause, Walmart underestimated the need for local knowledge, while in the second Walmart overestimated its capability of replicating its supply-chain into the infrastructure available in China.

Some industries clearly cannot travel across borders as well as others and the retail business seems to be one of them, because foreign entrants often must take on incumbents that have operated in the local market, with a better understanding of local preferences and suited offers to local consumers’ needs.

Walmart´s international expansion seems to follow only the Market-Based View (MBV) strategy. According to this model, Walmart selects new countries based on the size of each market, the strength of local and foreign competitors, and the purchasing power of local consumers. However, Walmart´s track record in Germany and in China, for instance, suggests that the firm seems to fail when it does not recognize that the differences between the company´s home market (the US) and the target market (the host country) are large. Additionally, the entry-modes used by the company suggests that the firm uses a mix of organic and inorganic growth to support its international expansion.


One thing that has remained constant the history of India, since its independence in 1947, is the dominance of family-owned businesses. Many of the country’s largest companies continue to be owned by families despite the many economic cycles that occurred in the country in the last 70 years. For example, family-owned business such as Tata, Ambani, Birla, Godrej, Wadia, Munjal, Mahindra, Thapar, Mittal, Shaparji Paollonji, Jindal, Adani, Anil Aggarwal – Vedanta, Bajaj, Ruia, Ranbaxy, and Times of India are controlled by families (Gupta, 2018), which own some the country’s biggest companies in sectors such as automobiles, consumer durables, metals, mobile telephony, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals, and tend to prefer portfolios of businesses. Economists attribute the persistence of family-controlled firms to the ability of the business community to adapt to the changing external environment and government policies (Gupta, 2018). The Tata Group, which will be discussed here, is a living example of the preference for portfolios in the Indian economy because it comprises over 100 independent operating companies. It is a typical conglomerate, a combination of many companies operating in entirely different industries under one legal entity, which holds the bulk of shareholding in the Tata group of companies. Each Tata company operates independently under the guidance and supervision of its own board of directors and shareholders.

Many Tata companies have achieved global leadership in their businesses. For instance, Tata Communications is the world’s largest international wholesale voice provider, Tata Motors is among the top ten commercial vehicle manufacturers in the world, Tata Steel is among the top ten best steelmakers and Tata Consultancy Service (TCS) is the second-largest IT services company in the world by both market cap and profits, Tata Global Beverages is the world´s second-largest tea company, and Tata Chemicals is the world’s third-largest manufacturer of soda ash.

Aspects of Tata´s Internationalization Strategy

Regarding Tata´s international expansion, it is difficult to point out a single strategy for Tata Group given that it is a conglomerate. Each operating company in the Tata group develops its own internationalization strategy as an integral part of its overall strategy, depending on the nature of the industry, opportunities available and competitive dynamics of the global stage. While for some companies the focus on the Indian market remains the priority, for others the development of Tata´s presence in international markets occurs in terms of trading and distribution. Finally, there are companies within the Tata group that pursue different entry-modes into in overseas geographies, using greenfield projects, acquisitions, or Joint Ventures (Kant, 2017). Tata companies made several significant overseas acquisitions including Corus by Tata Steel, Jaguar and Land Rover by Tata Motors and Brunner Mond by Tata Chemicals – all in the UK; Daewoo Commercial Vehicles by Tata Motors in South Korea; Millennium Steel in Thailand by Tata Steel; and General Chemical Industrial Products by Tata Chemicals. In conclusion, the Tata Group does present a case of internationalization as an intrinsic part of its strategy. However, given its sheer size and presence in different industries, the company does not pursue a single-entry mode in foreign markets.

However, it is possible to perceive that the company´s first steps of internationalization tend to be the export of products from India to the rest of the world. A second step generally includes outright acquisitions of least competitive firms or Joint Ventures (JV), in order to pursue economies of scale in production. Therefore, the firm acts as a global integrator in manufacturing, while it keeps on searching for new markets under a Market-Based View (MBV) approach. This perspective, alternatively known as the market positioning view), focuses on the role of market conditions such as market size, the intensity of the rivalry between competitors, for instance, in developing a strategy for the firm. In the Tata Case, the firm looks for economies of scale in the supply side and business opportunities in the demand side.


CEMEX is a global building materials company that provides products and services in more than 50 countries. With a strategy of pursuing vertical integration of assets in the production of cement, aggregates, and ready-mix concrete, the company pursues internationalization growth through acquisitions in cherry-picked structurally attractive markets to mitigate risk through risk-pooling. Most importantly, CEMEX developed a fast acquisition and post-merger integration process that became the key strategic advantages of the company. The CEMEX way includes a process perspective instead of a transaction-oriented & financial approach, an extensive due diligence process, and an effective and speedy integration, unbeknown in this industry (Harvard Business School, 2017). After becoming Mexico´s largest producer of cement, reaching more than 60% of the local market share, the company started its international expansion in 1986, as presented in Table 1.

Table 1. Timeline of CEMEX´s international expansion
Source: Casanova (2008); Ghemawat (2004), Ghemawat (2006), Moffet (2000), Harvard Business School (2017)

Year Target Country Mode of Entry Target or Partner
1969 Mexico Acquisition Cementos Maya
1976 Mexico Acquisition Cementos Guadalajara
1986 USA Joint Venture Southdown
1987 Mexico 49% Stake Cementos Chihuahua
1987 USA Joint Venture Heidelberg, Aalborg, Lehig
1987 Mexico Acquisition Cementos Anáhuac
1989 Mexico Acquisition Cementos Tolteca
1989 USA Acquisition Gulf Coast Portland Cement
1989 USA Acquisition Houston Shell and Concrete
1989 USA Acquisition Houston Concrete Products
1989 USA Acquisition Aggregate Transportation
1989 USA Acquisition Sunbelt (JV w/ Southdown)
1992 USA Acquisition Pharris Sand & Gravel
1992 Spain Acquisition Valenciana
1992 Spain Acquisition La Auxiliar de la Construcción
1993 Bahamas Acquisition Concem
1994 USA Acquisition Balcones Cement plant
1994 Venezuela Acquisition Vencemos
1994 Trinidad 20% Stake Trinidad Cement
1994 Panama Acquisition Cemento Bayano
1995 Dominican Republic Acquisition Cementos Nacionales
1996 Colombia Acquisition Cementos Diamante
1996 Colombia Acquisition Samper
1997 Philippines 30% Stake Rizal Cement
1998 Indonesia 14% Stake Semen Gresik
1998 Philippines 40% Stake Rizal (additional 40%)
1999 Indonesia 8% Stake Semen Gresik
1999 Indonesia 4% Stake Semen Gresik
1999 Philippines Acquisition APO Cement
1999 Costa Rica Acquisition Cementos del Pacífico
1999 Egypt 77% Stake Assiut Cement
1999 Chile 12% Stake Cementos Bio-Bio
1999 Haiti Acquisition Cement Terminals
2000 USA Acquisition  Southdown
2000 Egypt 13% Stake Assiut Cement
2001 Nicaragua Lease Nicaraguan Government
2001 Thailand Acquisition Saraburi Cement
2001 Bangladesh Greenfield Grinding Mill
2001 France Acquisition Pastorelo Travaux Routiers
2001 Japan Acquisition Wangan
2002 Puerto Rico Acquisition Puerto Rican Cement Company
2003 USA Acquisition Dixon-Marquette Cement
2005 UK Acquisition RMC
2006 Spain Investment in additional capacity N/A
2006 Indonesia Divestment Operations in Indonesia
2007 Australia Acquisition Rinker
2013 Germany Divestment (to reduce debt) Asset swap with Holcim
2013 Czech Republic Acquisition (to reduce debt) Asset swap with Holcim
2015 Austria and Hungary Divestment (to reduce debt) Sale to Rohrdofer Group
2016 USA Divestment (to reduce debt) Pacific Northwest

Aspects of CEMEX´s Internationalization Strategy

An important note should be made about CEMEX internationalization process. The company, instead of looking only at traditional criteria for acquisition in the cement business, such as large population and high rate of economic growth, decided to go markets with low psychic distance from Mexico, a clear Resource-Based View approach. Therefore, the sequence of the acquisitions matters and the CAGE framework explains the reasoning of the market selection (Ghemawat, 2007). CEMEX´s international expansions is a textbook case of international expansion according to the Uppsala Internationalization Model, which advocates that companies normally start their expansion in a psychic nearby market. There, firms enhance knowledge of the market and gradually become more experienced; a preparation to expand to the more distant markets. It is interesting to see that after the catastrophic acquisition of the Rinker company (Moffet, 2000) even the divestment strategy used by CEMEX seems to follow the Uppsala model, given that the cement company sold assets in central Europe (Germany, Austria, and Hungary), a region with very high psychic distance from CEMEX´s Mexico.


The story of South Korea’s transformation, from an underdeveloped country to one of the world’s largest exporter, owes much to its family-run conglomerates known as Chaebol. Currently, there are now forty-five conglomerates that fit the traditional definition of a chaebol and the top ten conglomerates own more than 27 percent of all business assets in South Korea, while the main ones are the well-known global firms LG, Hyundai, SK, and – largest of them all – Samsung (

Samsung is one of the largest family business in the world (Stern, 2015) and occupies the 12th spot in the 2018 Fortune Global 500 ranking of global corporations (Fortune, 2018), with more the US$ 260 billion in revenues. In the late 1960s, Samsung officially entered the electronics business and the company´s international expansion happened in tandem with its diversification strategy. Due to the sheer size of the conglomerate, this text will focus at Samsung´s Electronic division (SE), which presents three key characteristics – its type of supply chain strategy, its diversification strategy and its strategic positioning regarding the forefront of technology. Together, these three components are strongly correlated to the company´s international expansion. First, SE’s supply chain presents a tight control over an extensive, vertically integrated supply chain. Consequently, because the organization manufactures many of the building blocks of its electronic devices, the firm presents the capacity to ramp up quickly the production of those parts. Therefore, SE´s differs a lot from one of its main competitors, Apple, which relies on a fragmented, outsourced network of suppliers for the parts of its products. Second, Samsung´s electronics division has chosen the diversification strategy as the strategic option to pursue growth. Third, SE´s position of “fast follower” regarding product development. Samsung is better than anybody else at learning from its competitors about market trends and the use of technology (Nisen, 2013).

Aspects of Samsung Electronics´ Internationalization Strategy

Samsung´s three aspects mentioned above (the type of supply chain strategy, the diversification strategy, and the strategic positioning regarding the forefront of technology) impact the company´s internationalization process. SE takes advantage of the different roles of the subsidiaries in the US, the UK, in Latin America and in Asia. The company chose the US, Japan, and the UK for its R&D Centers and China or Brazil for its manufacturing plants, to pursue location-specific advantages. It also became one of the main suppliers worldwide of electronic components, even for Apple, one of its main competitors (Kang, 2016). Therefore, Samsung Electronics´ global strategy can be described as possessing a high rate of global integration and cost efficiencies.

In conclusion, Samsung Electronic follows the OLI (Ownership-Location-Internalization) framework developed by John Dunning (Dunning, 1977). Regarding the role of international subsidiaries, currently, Samsung is a transnational company, according to Bartlett´s and Ghoshal´s typology (Bartlett, Ghoshal, 2002), a strategy in which companies try to maximize both responsiveness and integration, where knowledge, innovation, and manufacturing flow within the entire network. The multinational company is regarded as a network, and each subsidiary is given responsibility compared to its capabilities and strategic mission.


In December 1978, Deng Xiaoping’s reforms started the era of private enterprise in China. Therefore, the most family business is less than forty-years-old and they face simultaneously the problem of the retirement of the pioneering entrepreneurs and the passing of control to the next generation, who may not share the entrepreneurial instinct of their parents. While these problems are common to family businesses in all countries, in China this generational change is happening simultaneously across the whole business sector due to the “One-Child policy” that was eliminated at the end of 2015. In addition, because the cultural differences between the first generation of entrepreneurs and the generation of their children are great, the internationalization path of family-owned business may differ. Given this scenario, this chapter will focus on the internationalization path of the Dalian Wanda Group.

The Dalian Wanda Group (or Wanda Group) is a multinational conglomerate founded in 1988 by Wang Jianlin and has investments across many industries such as construction, entertainment, media, industrial manufacturing, financial services, high technology, hospitality, real estate, retail, healthcare, and sports. It ranked 23rd at the University of Saint Gallen´s family business index. In 2017, its annual revenue was $44.7 billion. ( Wanda pursues a diversification strategy outside mainland China that lead the company to venture into apparently non-synergic business such as manufacturing of luxury yachts (Sunseeker, in the UK), theaters (AMC, in the US, and Hoyst, in Australia), films (Legendary Entertainment, in the US), theme parks (EuropaCity, in France), and partnerships in the healthcare industry, and sports, such as a 20% stake in the Spanish soccer team Atlético Madrid and the broadcasting rights to the 2022 World Cup,

Aspects of Dalian Wanda Group´s Internationalization Strategy

Wanda´s internationalization can be seen through different lenses. First, it provides an example of the government-supported expansion of firms, such as described by Lourdes Casanova as “National Champions (Casanova, 2009), because of the support of the Chinese government to the international expansion of many Chinese firms, the Dalian Wanda Group included. Second, Wanda´s aggressive approach is dependent on acquisitions to provide sizeable market share. For instance, AMC is the largest cinema chain in the US and the world, with 8,200 screens in 661 cinemas, while Hoyst Cinema is the 2nd largest chain operator in Oceania, owning 424 screens in 52 cinemas ( Third, for some business, the Wanda Group seems to pursue a sort of vertical integration as the company acquired the Legendary Entertainment, a leading film production company in the US, with businesses in shows, TV, films, and comics. Therefore, Wanda not only operates in the business layer of the infrastructure of theaters but also in the development of content for them. Finally, Wanda tried to mitigate international and industry-specific risk when the firm pursued the diversification on unrelated business in different countries.

However, the Chinese government recently clamped down on firms that borrowed heavily to make aggressive acquisitions overseas and consequently those firms, Dalian Wanda included, are under pressure to sell assets. As a consequence, China’s conglomerates are no longer buying up the world as they did in the recent past. For instance, the Dalian Wanda Group divested real estate projects in the U.K. and Australia and sold its stake in Spanish soccer club Atletico Madrid. (Shane, 2018).

In conclusion, the Dalian Wanda Group´s story tells a lot about the international expansion of family-owned conglomerates from China. First, there is its speed of the foreign expansion because it seems that the company realized it did too much too fast, thus causing a financial strain (Reuters, 2018). Second, the preferred expansion mode is the acquisitions of foreign assets. Third, the acquisition targets are in somewhat unrelated businesses, such as real state, media, and hotels. These three characteristics combined suggest that Chinese conglomerates follow a chaotic internationalization, with different speeds and growth rates, which sometimes are indeed negative.


This family-owned and family-managed Swedish multinational group designs easy-to-assemble furniture with modern style, kitchen appliances, and home accessories. It has been the world’s largest furniture retailer since 2008 due not only to the trendy design of its products but also to the perception of the high value (quality vs. price) of its products. From a supply chain perspective, an important part of IKEA´s success comes from its very integrated production-delivery system. Although the company does not own all its manufacturing, the company buys very little off the shelf and designs just about everything you see in its stores. IKEA currently is managed by the second generation of the Kamprad family, who controls the company through the oversight of the critical decisions about this private company. (IKEA, 2018)

Aspects of IKEA´s Internationalization Strategy

IKEA´s international expansion started in the 1960s when the company turned to Denmark and Poland to find new suppliers. The first IKEA store outside Scandinavia was established in Spreitenbach, Switzerland, in 1973, followed in the coming years by stores in Germany. Table 2 presents the sequence of IKEA´s international expansion and the reasons for each movement.

Table 2. Timeline of IKEA´s international expansion
Source: IKEA (2018) and Bartlett, Dessain, Sjoman (2006)

Year Country Reasoning
1958 Sweden First store
1961 Denmark Search of new suppliers
1961 Poland Search of new suppliers
1963 Norway Search of new suppliers
1969 Denmark Search of new suppliers
1973 Switzerland First store outside Scandinavia to reach new markets
1973 Denmark HQ moved outside Sweden due to regulation over inheritance
1974 Germany Search of new suppliers
1975 Australia Search of new suppliers
1976 Canada Search of new suppliers
1977 Austria Search of new suppliers
1978 Netherlands Search of new suppliers
1978 Singapore Search of new suppliers
1980 Spain Search of new suppliers
1981 Iceland Search of new suppliers
1981 France Search of new suppliers
1983 Saudi Arabia Search of new suppliers
1983 Netherlands Set up of legal entities: INGKA Foundation (which today owns many of the IKEA franchisees) and Inter IKEA (which deals with the brand and strategic topics)
1984 Belgium Search of new suppliers
1984 Kuwait Search of new suppliers
1985 United States Search of new suppliers
1987 United Kingdom Search of new suppliers
1988 Hong Kong Search of new suppliers
1989 Italy Search of new suppliers
1990 Hungary Search of new suppliers
1991 Poland Search of new suppliers
1991 Czech Republic Search of new suppliers
1991 United Arab Emirates Search of new suppliers
1991 Luxemburg Set up of legal entity Inter IKEA Holding SA, to become the parent company of the Inter IKEA Group of companies
1992 Slovakia Search of new suppliers
1992 Netherlands Open  of a concept store to reach markets
1993 Belgium Establishment of service companies
1994 Taiwan Search of new suppliers
1998 China Search of new suppliers; start of retail operations through a JV (a requirement for foreign companies)
2008 Portugal The opening of the MAR Shopping, a family-friendly shopping center concept, with an integrated IKEA store, to become a point of reference for future developments
2009 China The announcement of investment and expansion plans in the country.
2010 England Acquistion of a large land area for the future development of commercial properties
2011 China Start ofthe construction of its first shopping center
2013 Lithuania Search of new suppliers
2013 Qatar Search of new suppliers
2014 Croatia Search of new suppliers
2015 South Korea Search of new suppliers
2017 Serbia Search of new suppliers
2017 Malaysia Search of new suppliers
2018 Thailand Search of new suppliers
2018 India Search of new suppliers
2018 Latvia Search of new suppliers
2020 South America The expected opening of stores in the Dominican Republic, Chile, Peru, and Colombia

IKEA´s expansion in foreign markets shows three characteristics: (i) the use of the Uppsala model of international expansion, in which firms search for host countries (markets) similar to their home countries (new markets in Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Germany); (ii) the use of international expansion to improve efficiency of the company´s supply chain (search of suppliers to Denmark and Norway), and (iii) the use of organic growth as the preferred engine of growth worldwide.


Itaú-Unibanco is a family-controlled, publicly quoted bank from Brazil,  and is listed both in the Brazilian stock market and in New York Stock Exchange. It is the biggest Latin American bank by assets and currently serves around 48 million clients in its retail banking unit (Itaú-Unibanco, 2018). It has subsidiaries and representative offices in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Panama, Paraguay, United States and Uruguay in the Americas; in the United Kingdom, Luxembourg and Portugal in Europe; Japan, China, and Hong Kong in Asia, and in the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East (Itaú-Unibanco, 2018). Itaú-Unibanco is the most important subsidiary of Itaúsa, a large conglomerate that ranks 133th at Fortune magazine’s top 500 corporations in the world (Fortune Global 500, 2018).

Throughout his story, the acquisitions of smaller, non-performing banks were an important part of Itaú-Unibanco growth strategy. For example, during the ’70s Itaú Bank merged with Banco Aliança (1973), Banco Português do Brasil (1974), and Banco União Commercial (1974). In late 1995, Itaú acquired the Brazilian retail banking unit of Credit Lyonnais, and took control of several state banks during Brazil´s privatization wave of underperforming banks: BANERJ (1997, from the State of Rio de Janeiro), BEMGE (1998, From the State of Minas Gerais State), Banestado (2000, from the State of Paraná), and BEG (2001, from the State of Goias). In 2002, Banco Itaú joined with Banco BBA-Creditanstalt S.A. (BBA) to create, in 2003, Banco Itaú-BBA, the largest wholesale bank in Brazil. In 2002, it acquired Banco Fiat, together with all of Fiat’s auto financing activities. Then, in April 2006, Itaú purchased the Brazilian operations of BankBoston, the Brazilian subsidiary of the Bank of America, and in 2009 Itaú and the third largest Brazilian private banking group at that time, Unibanco announced their merge.

Aspects of Itaú-Unibanco´s Internationalization Strategy

The internationalization process of Itaú-Unibanco started in the late 70s, several decades after Itau´s foundation. Due to the Itaú-Unibanco´s strategy of becoming a universal bank, with many business units and financial solutions to companies, governments, and customers, this chapter will focus on the foreign expansion of the retail banking business. Table 3 presents the main events of Itaú-Unibanco´s international expansion of its retail business.

The internationalization process of Itaú-Unibanco started in the late 70s, several decades Itau´s foundation. Due to the Itaú-Unibanco´s strategy of becoming a universal bank, with many business units and financial solutions to companies, governments, and customers, this chapter will focus on the foreign expansion of the retail banking business. Table 3 presents the main events of Itaú-Unibanco´s international expansion in the retail banking business.

Table 3. Timeline of ITAU-Unibanco international expansion
Source: (Itaú-Unibanco 2018)

Year Country Mode of Entry Target Bank
1995 Argentina Start of retail banking activities N/A
1998 Argentina Acquisition Buen Ayre Bank
2005 Japan Start of retail activities N/A
2006 Chile Acquisition BankBoston´s unit in Chile
2010 Paragua The consequence of M&A with Unibanco N/A
2013 Uruguay Acquisition Citibank´s unit in Uruguay
2013 Japan End of retail activities N/A
2014 Chile Acquisition CorpBanca
2014 Colombia The consequence of the acquisition of CorpBanca HelmBank
2014 Panamá The consequence of the acquisition of CorpBanca HelmBank

Several aspects can be noticed from the internationalization process of Itaú-Unibanco. First, the low speed of its international expansion. The bank´s internationalization suggests that the organization is not only conservative but also more preoccupied with the assurance of a successful integration than the velocity of its international expansion. Second, there is the focus in Latin American markets, which is an indication that Itaú-Unibanco follows the Uppsala model of international expansion, which advocates that firms gradually expand into culturally and geographically close foreign markets. Third, the organization opted to expand through acquisitions, in order to obtain economies of scale to counterbalance the huge investments in IT, a requirement for the operation of its profitable retail banking business. Overall, the international expansion strategy of the bank suggests a replication of the conservative “buy and integrate”, mode the bank used in the expansion in its home country.


The family-owned multinational companies analyzed in this chapter present a diverse portfolio of internationalization strategies, driving forces for international expansion, entry modes, and speed of foreign expansion. While Market-Based View is the driving force for Walmart and Tata, the Uppsala model (and the Resource-Based View) is the preferred choice of CEMEX, IKEA, and Itaú-Unibanco and the OLI framework is used by Samsung Electronics to enter in markets to benefit from location advantages, while Dalian Wanda presented no clear strategy for its international expansion. Regarding the speed of internationalization, Itaú-Unibanco presents a meticulous and slow expansion agenda, while Dalian Wanda showed, at some point, an aggressive and chaotic internationalization process. Dalian Wanda also benefited from the support of the Chinese government and the intense use of international debt markets, something not generally used by other firms in this analysis. Table 4 presents a brief summary of this chapter.

Table 4. Summary of the different characteristics of internationalization of family-owned multinationals
Source: Author

Organization Country of Origin Internationalization Firm-specific characteristics of international expansion
WALMART USA ·  Market-Based View  approach, focusing on the size of the market, purchasing power, level of competition ·  Difficulties to transplant supply chain effectiveness from home country to host countries

·  A mix of organic and inorganic growth

TATA India ·  Each business unit develops its own internationalization strategy

·  Company´s first steps of internationalization tend to be export of products from India to the rest of the world

·  A mix of greenfield projects, acquisitions, and Joint Venture

·  The global integrator in manufacturing, while searching new markets under a Market-Based View (MBV) approach

CEMEX Mexico ·  International expansion according to the Uppsala Internationalization Model ·  Resource-Based View approach

·  The firm also uses the Uppsala model to select which assets will be divested

SAMSUNG Electronics South Korea ·   Samsung´s Electronic division follows the OLI (Ownership-Location-Internalization) framework ·  The pursuit of location-specific advantages in R&D and manufacturing

·  International subsidiaries exercise different roles in the company´s supplu chain

DALIAN WANDA China ·  Government-driven expansion of firms

·  Intense use of acquisition

·  Diversification on unrelated business to mitigate risk

·  Chaotic international expansion

·  Different speed of internationalization


IKEA Sweden ·  Uppsala model of international expansion ·  International expansion also improved the company´s supply chain

·  Intense use of organic growth

Itaú-Unibanco Brazil ·  Uppsala model of international expansion ·  Integration of banks acquired in host countries more important than the speed of acquisition

·  The slow process of internationalization

·  The acquisition is the selected entry mode

·  Focus on Latin America



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