“The Sleeping Partner” : A qualitative research examining the “sponsorship” entry in the Middle East- The case of the UAE

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för marknadsföring (MF)

Abstract: Scholars in the international business field have presented various findings on international entry mode strategies, yet few were conducted on the Middle East. However, a recent study has presented a new form of entry mode used among multinational corporations (MNCs) in the Middle East where foreign companies tend to form partnership with individuals (local sponsor) rather than corporations when entering the market. The entry mode is presented as “sponsorship” entry mode, which is a new form of entry used by MNCs. It allows MNCs to enter the market in a similar way of joint venture, however, instead of finding a partner to penetrate the market MNCs are required to find a local sponsor. The thesis purpose is to examine the case of United Arab Emirates (UAE) as one of the most attractive countries for foreign investors in the Middle East. In addition, the thesis will provide a deeper understanding of the “Sponsorship” entry mode and the different criteria needed to select a local sponsor. To get a deeper understanding of the subject, a qualitative approach has been followed. Additionally, the data was collected through semi-structured interviews with senior managers and CEOs, which were based on the literature review to get rich findings. The literature review presents several theories and models that helped to analyse the data collected from the interviewees. Moreover, a conceptualize framework was added in the literature review chapter to summarise and illustrate a primary framework that provides an idea on the “sponsorship” entry mode.  By analysing the data that were collected, the outcome of the research reviled various forms of local sponsors that could be chosen based on the criteria needed to guarantee a successful entry. The findings have also provided insightful examples of different challenges that could be faced when establishing a sponsorship through a local sponsor and the different strategies used to cope with such challenges. The outcome of this study has provided a deeper understanding of the “sponsorship” entry mode and the different selection criteria needed to select a local sponsor. Finally, the thesis concluded the study by providing answers to the research questions and summarizing the answers into the revised conceptual framework.   

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