The motivation, process and strategy of internationalisation by Malaysian firms into the United Kingdom
This thesis considers the case of foreign direct investment into the developed country, by examining the internationalisation of Malaysian companies into the United Kingdom. The study on FDI by companies from the developing counthes has been under-presented in the literature of international business and especially not to the extent of those that have been conducted on western countries' multinationals. There is also lack of thorough investigation on the influence of company's characteristics on FDI practices of developing countries' transnational corporations. This study was pursued using a qualitative approach where data was obtained via semi-structured interview as well as documentary information. A preliminary search of the database Financial Analysis Made Easy (FAME) found 180 Malaysian companies in the U. K. which correspond to 80 parent companies in Malaysia. This was later scaled down to 45 companies that actually have active operations in the U. K. The companies broadly fall into three types: conglomerates, Chinese family firms and govemment-linked companies (GLCs). A total of 19 companies in Malaysia and 8 companies in the U. K. finally agreed to participate in the research. Interviews in Malaysia took place in July to October 2003 and those in the U. K. were conducted in November 2003 to January 2004. Generally, the International Business (E[3) theory can be used to explain foreign direct investment by Malaysian firms into the U. K. As such, the motivation of Malaysian firms investing in the U. K. is still enveloped within resource seeking, market seeking, efficiency seeking and strategic asset seeking types of FDL However, there are other factors that are not clearly explained in the mainstream 113 theory, especially with regards to the characteristics and types of the companies that influence FDI motives and strategies such as Chinese family business, conglomerate firms and GLCs. This study found that Chinese family businesses undertake FDI to increase shareholder value, that is, the family wealth or family capital accumulation. The motive of conglomerate firms is either to create new core competence in the hierarchy, to strengthen the existing core competence and/or risk hedging. For the GLCs, the goal to help support the Malaysian government policy on transfer of technology has driven them to undertake similar investments in the U. K. Other specific factors have also driven the investment namely the entrepreneurship and opportunistic behaviour of the business actors i. e. the major shareholder in the Malaysian companies. The strategy of investment has a strong tendency towards 'emergent strategy' rather than 'deliberate strategy'. The study also shows that Malaysian companies prefer wholly-owned subsidiaries where the parents are in control of finance and determine the business directions. There is, however, limited direct involvement of parent companies' personnel in the running of the subsidiaries.