Finding the Right Chemistry: The U.S. Chemical Industry in Asia
This article examines the evolution of U.S. chemical firms' corporate strategies in Asia over the past decade. Prior to the Asian financial crisis, these firms treated the Asian market as an expansion outlet due to a persistent lack of growth in Western markets. Since the crisis, U.S. firms have reformulated their market and organizational strategies to better withstand disruptions of business or product life cycles, specifically through refocusing core competence and establishing regional production networks. Meanwhile, their nonmarket strategies have lagged behind market strategies in specificity and sensitivity to the Asian context. This article explores the early effort in safety and environmental self-governance of the chemical firms in Asia, and argues that the history of domestic competition and government-business relations in the home market has to a large degree determined the transnational strategies of U.S. firms. Finally, U.S. chemical firms strategies are increasingly dependent on the behavior of their Asian competitors - in particular whether Asian producers enter into alliances with U.S. firms or resist liberalization and regional market interpenetration.
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