International collaboration and innovation: evidence from a leading Chinese multinational enterprise

Xiaolan Fu, Xiaoquig Fu, Pervez N Ghauri, Jun Hou

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This paper investigates the impact of international collaboration and its characteristics on the quality of the innovation of multinational enterprises (MNEs) in emerging markets. Using a unique dataset of 1428 international and comparable domestic collaboration projects over the 2010–2016 period, it finds that while international innovation collaborations are associated with high innovation quality, cultural distance has a negative effect on collaboration outcomes. Moreover, proximity to the focal firm's overseas R&D centres and the size of expenditure budgets play significant moderating roles in overcoming cultural barriers. Based on the RBV and dynamic capabilities theory, we investigate how firms from emerging markets can acquire these two crucial requisites for innovation. The characteristics of partners and intellectual property (IP) arrangements are also found to have a significant impact on the quality of innovations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101329
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of World Business
Issue number4
Early online date24 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

The authors are grateful to participants at CICALICS, and IACMR and CatChain annual conferences and seminars at Oxford University, Tsinghua University and Fudan University, and Bengt Åke Bertil Lundvall, Franco Malerba, Haibo Lin, Henry Chesbrough, Arie Y. Lewin and George Yip for helpful comments, to Jianping Pan for excellent research assistance at early stage of the research, and to ABC Technologies Ltd. for data access. Xiaolan Fu is grateful to Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences for financial support, Grant/Award Number: 2018-I2M-2-002.


  • Chinese MNEs
  • Cultural distances
  • Innovation quality
  • International collaboration
  • Overseas research centres

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Finance
  • Marketing


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