The paper aims to study the international expansion of SMEs in an emerging country. Mathews’ (2006) Linkage–Leverage–Learning (LLL) model is the framework applied to analyse the process of international expansion of SMEs. To operationalise the study of the barriers, the LLL model was linked to the work of Leonidou (2004). The data was collected from 154 SMEs operating in Anhui, China, and then analysed using multivariate regressions; the models used the firms’ export intensity at the regional, national, and international level as dependent variables. Five models were run: two analysing the internal and external barriers hindering firms’ international expansion, the other two models studying the characteristics of Chinese international companies (state funding and ownership), and the fifth model the industry where SMEs operate as independent variables. The results show that 12 of the barriers defined by Leonidou are hindering the expansion of Anhui’s SMEs, that the ownership, funding, or industry do not play an important role in this expansion. The findings are then analysed in comparison with recent works on Chinese SMEs from where conclusions are drawn.

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Keywords Internationalisation, Emerging economy firms, SMEs, Expansion, Factors and barriers, China
Citation
Cardoza, G, Fornes, G., & Xu, S. (2010). Factors Hindering/Promoting the International Expansion of SMEs from China. Evidence from Anhui Province.