Competitive advantage of Sino-British joint ventures in China : a study from positioning, resources, partnership and locational perspectives
As a large number of MNEs have entered China and many domestic companies become increasingly competitive, Sino-foreign joint ventures are facing intensified competition in many industries in China. The review of the literature shows that few studies on Sino-foreign joint ventures focus on competitive issues, and most studies tend to examine the issues associated with partnerships. This thesis examines competitive advantage of Sino-British joint ventures in China and explains why some joint ventures have (or have not) achieved competitive advantage. The research developed a multi-perspective framework for analysing competitive advantage of the joint venture. The framework embraces strategic positioning, the resource-based view, partnerships, and location specific factors. The empirical study investigated five cases: AstraZeneca China, ERM China, Shanghai Marconi, GSK Chongqing, and YARACO. The case studies have revealed some salient characteristics of the joint ventures from the differing perspectives. The positioning perspective examines the alignment of activities with the positioning and fit among activities. Partnerships and locational factors are incorporated into the analysis. The analysis from the resource-based is focused on the potential of some critical resources for competitive advantage. The resources embedded in the partnership structure and the local context are likely to be sources of sustainable competitive advantage. The synthesized analysis investigates the relationship between activities and resources of the firm and leads to some theoretical propositions about creating sustainable competitive advantage. The research aims to make contributions to knowledge in the following respects. First, the research draws attention to competitive advantage of the joint venture as a relatively new area for the study. Second, by developing multi-perspective framework, the research can help broaden theoretical perspectives for studying the joint venture and may effect discoveries of new issues. Moreover, the research seeks to contribute to the debate about competitive advantage and strategy through synthesizing positioning and the resource-based view.