Network gatekeeping in SME exporters’ market entry in China

Hongzhi Gao, Monica Ren, Jing Zhang, Ruoyi Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose – Small and medium-sized exporters (SMEs) are driven to develop a network entry strategy to tap into a new foreign market. The purpose of this paper is to draw on the network perspective to evaluate how a network gatekeeper facilitates a foreign SME exporter’s entry into local business networks in China. Design/methodology/approach – The single case study method was adopted. The Ule New Zealand Mall, an online shopping platform that sells New Zealand products in China, was selected in this case study. The authors applied the critical incident technique to evaluate the position of New Zealand Post (as a home country-based network gatekeeper), the roles within the position, and the key outcome of the network gatekeeping. Findings – The study discovers two key roles of network gatekeepers: bridging the gap in trust between outsider networks and insider networks; and reducing the costs of experiential learning for SME exporters. Finally, this study concludes that the “brokered insidership” position acquired by SME exporters is the key outcome of network gatekeeping in foreign market entry. Originality/value – This study advances the understanding of theories of structural holes, business network and gatekeeping. The authors articulate the critical position assumed by a network gatekeeper in bridging two otherwise disconnected business networks, and their key roles in networking. The study also proposes a new network concept – “brokered insidership”.

LanguageEnglish
Pages276-297
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Marketing Review
Volume33
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2016

Fingerprint

Market entry
China
Exporters
Gatekeeping
Gatekeeper
Business networks
New Zealand
Outsider
Online shopping
Experiential learning
Mall
Design methodology
Insider
Foreign market entry
Critical incident technique
Structural holes
Networking
Case study method
Costs
Home country

Cite this

Gao, Hongzhi ; Ren, Monica ; Zhang, Jing ; Sun, Ruoyi. / Network gatekeeping in SME exporters’ market entry in China. In: International Marketing Review. 2016 ; Vol. 33, No. 2. pp. 276-297.
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Network gatekeeping in SME exporters’ market entry in China. / Gao, Hongzhi; Ren, Monica; Zhang, Jing; Sun, Ruoyi.

In: International Marketing Review, Vol. 33, No. 2, 11.04.2016, p. 276-297.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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