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Revisiting the psychic distance paradox: international retailing in China in the long run (1840-2005

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Author Info

  • Andrew Godley

    ()
    (School of Management, University of Reading)

  • Haiming Hang

    ()
    (School of Management, University of Reading)

Abstract

This paper uses original research on the roles played by two sets of foreign entrants into Chinese retailing since the 1850s - the overseas Chinese entrants and western entrants - to explore the psychic distance paradox over the long run. It explains how the advantages of psychic closeness in Chinese retailing have always been important in reducing entry barriers, but that the increasing costs of technology have increased the significance of firm proprietary strengths in some formats, notably supermarkets, so reducing the relative importance of psychic closeness. The paper therefore illustrates how taking the long-term perspective enables more sophisticated conclusions to emerge. A cross sectional analysis of one sector – Chinese supermarkets – would confirm the psychic distance paradox; overseas Chinese have been unable to translate psychic closeness into superior performance. By contrast their historic performance in department stores and more recently in fashion chains has been superior to the format leaders. This long term perspective therefore suggests that the understanding of the psychic distance paradox needs to be moderated by additional conceptualisation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Henley Business School, Reading University in its series Economics & Management Discussion Papers with number em-dp2008-66.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: 18 Nov 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rdg:emxxdp:em-dp2008-66

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Related research

Keywords: Psychic Distance; China; International Retailing; Internationalisation Process;

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

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  1. Jody Evans & Felix T Mavondo, 2002. "Psychic Distance and Organizational Performance: An Empirical Examination of International Retailing Operations," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 33(3), pages 515-532, September.
  2. Keith D. Brouthers & Lance Eliot Brouthers, 2003. "Why Service and Manufacturing Entry Mode Choices Differ: The Influence of Transaction Cost Factors, Risk and Trust," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(5), pages 1179-1204, 07.
  3. James Walker, 2008. "National Income in Domesday England," Economics & Management Discussion Papers em-dp2008-67, Henley Business School, Reading University.
  4. Luo, Yadong & Shenkar, Oded & Nyaw, Mee-Kau, 2002. "Mitigating liabilities of foreignness: Defensive versus offensive approaches," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 283-300.
  5. Shawna O'Grady & Henry W Lane, 1996. "The Psychic Distance Paradox," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 27(2), pages 309-333, June.
  6. Bruce Kogut & Harbir Singh, 1988. "The Effect of National Culture on the Choice of Entry Mode," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 19(3), pages 411-432, September.
  7. Gabriel R G Benito & Geir Gripsrud, 1992. "The Expansion of Foreign Direct Investments: Discrete Rational Location Choices or a Cultural Learning Process?," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 23(3), pages 461-476, September.
  8. Yamin, Mohammad & Sinkovics, Rudolf R., 2006. "Online internationalisation, psychic distance reduction and the virtuality trap," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 339-360, August.
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