Internationalization of South Korean software SMEs: A multiple-case study on market selection, expansion patterns and the influence of large business conglomerates

University essay from Lunds universitet/Centrum för öst- och sydöstasienstudier

Abstract: The purpose of the thesis was to examine the internationalization process of South Korean software SMEs with a focus on their market selection and international expansion patterns. In addition, the thesis aimed to determine whether the presence of large business conglomerates in the domestic market, a unique characteristic of the South Korean economy, had any significant influence on the internationalization process of these software SMEs. In order to explore the topic, the thesis used the revised, business network version of the Uppsala model as the theoretical framework and employed a qualitative multiple-case study research design with a total of four case companies. Based on the findings, this thesis emphasized that the market size and the expected opportunities in the potential market were the most important influencing factors behind market selection for these companies. Furthermore, findings showed that the international expansion of these companies happened in an accelerated pace which was influenced considerably by network relationships. Finally, the thesis argued that large business conglomerates did not have a significant influence on the overall internationalization process of South Korean software SMEs. However, their presence could have limited the options to start internationalization.

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