Knowledge and internationalization of returnee entrepreneurial firms

Wensong Bai, Martin Johanson, Oscar Martín Martín

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


This study aims to answer whether and how returnee entrepreneurs’ international experience and returnee entrepreneurial firms’ international market knowledge influence these firms’ internationalization. Anchored in a framework combining an entrepreneurial and knowledge-based view, we develop a model and four hypotheses on the relations between returnee entrepreneurs’ international experience, international market knowledge, international market commitment, and level of internationalization of the returnee entrepreneurial firm. Empirical evidence of the proposed model is derived from a recent sample of Chinese returnee SMEs in knowledge-intensive and high-technology industries. The main finding is that returnee entrepreneurs’ international experience nurtures international market knowledge of returnee entrepreneurial firms, which in turn has a positive effect on these firms’ international market commitment and level of internationalization. In terms of theory, the study extends our understanding of returnee entrepreneurial firms by uncovering the role of returnee entrepreneurs’ international experience and returnee firms’ international market knowledge during their initial and early international expansion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)652-665
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Business Review
Issue number4
Early online date21 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


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