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Returnee entrepreneurs, knowledge spillovers and innovation in high-tech firms in emerging economies


  • Xiaohui Liu

    (Loughborough University Business School, UK)

  • Jiangyong Lu

    (Guanghua School of Management, Peking University, Beijing, China)

  • Igor Filatotchev

    (Sir John Cass Business School, City University London, London, UK)

  • Trevor Buck

    (Loughborough University Business School, UK)

  • Mike Wright

    (Centre for Management Buy-out Research, Nottingham University Business School, Nottingham, UK)


Using panel data analysis, this paper investigates the impact of returnee entrepreneurs, foreign direct investment (FDI) intensity and inter-firm employee mobility on innovation in Chinese high-tech firms. International technology spillovers and internal R&D efforts are found to jointly determine the innovation performance of Chinese high-tech firms, and we report that the presence of returnee entrepreneurs positively affects innovation. In addition, there are significant knowledge spillover effects associated with returnees and multinational enterprise (MNE) employee mobility, and the effects of these two components of international human mobility on local firms' innovation are mutually reinforcing. We also present the distinctive result that FDI intensity in an industry has a negative impact on local innovation. The findings have important implications for practitioners and policymakers.

Suggested Citation

  • Xiaohui Liu & Jiangyong Lu & Igor Filatotchev & Trevor Buck & Mike Wright, 2010. "Returnee entrepreneurs, knowledge spillovers and innovation in high-tech firms in emerging economies," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 41(7), pages 1183-1197, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:jintbs:v:41:y:2010:i:7:p:1183-1197

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