The internationalisation of multinationals from emerging markets has increased
remarkably over the last two decades which has caused a fundamental shift in the
global economy whereby more focus is now being directed to the foreign expansion
strategies pursued by these firms. There is a growing debate amongst IB scholars
about the applicability of existing theories and frameworks in explaining the rise of
emerging market multinationals.
The objective of this research was to explore internationalisation strategies of
multinationals from emerging countries to provide more insights and understanding into
the foreign expansion approaches employed by these multinational companies (MNCs)
when investing in other emerging economies with the focus on foreign expansion of
South African chemical companies into the rest of Africa.
A qualitative exploratory study was followed where 15 semi-structured interviews were
conducted with senior managers and executives across four South African chemical
companies. The findings indicate how the rising competition in the domestic market
due to the introduction of international competition and the increase of local market
competitors led to the successful internationalisation of South African companies from
the chemical. The study also shows that chemical companies from South Africa adopt
a gradual internationalisation approach when expanding into the rest of Africa and
these companies based their foreign expansion on firm-specific advantages that were
shaped by the unique history South Africa.