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date: 25 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides a long-run historical perspective on international business in emerging markets. It focuses on the role of Western MNEs, and examines their strategies and the management challenges they faced. In the first era of globalization from the 19th century to the 1920s, MNEs sought access to natural resources, and benefitted from exclusive contracts. Innovation was focused on overcoming logistical challenges. During the Great Reversal during the middle decades of the 20th century, the main challenges faced by MNEs were political. Mounting hostility led many firms to divest, and to invest elsewhere. In the contemporary global economy, political risks declined, but corporate strategies needed to carefully manage relations with the government. Emerging markets were increasingly seen as indispensable by MNEs. They were both a place to locate activities in the lower end of global value chains and a growing market.

Keywords: globalization, emerging markets, political risk, multinational strategies, expropriation, divestment concessions, state-owned business

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