The internationalisation of family firms: case histories of two Chinese overseas family firms

Internationalisation is an important part of the business history of both non-family and family firms. The discourse regarding both is based on the mainstream microeconomic theories of the firm. This article, through examining the case histories of two successful Chinese overseas family firms, shows that explanations of internationalisation need often to venture beyond the confines of existing theories, especially where contextual factors are influential in shaping decision-making. The experiences of these firms point to the role of the state as a major contextual factor. The case history approach is the most relevant in this and other instances where context matters.