This Special Issue of Business History will investigate the embeddedness and adaptation of East Asian business operations in Europe.

The influx of East Asian enterprises into Europe has a long history. Japanese business engagements in Europe stretch back for over more than 100 years and have, in this period, constantly evolved and adapted (Mason 1992; Buckley et al., 2013). Early Taiwanese investments date back to the 1950s (Tung, 1991; Ibeh et al., 2004) and Korean firms have explored European markets since the mid-1970s, when car manufacturer Daewoo opened its first trading office in Germany (Cherry, 2007). Foreign direct investment (FDI) by multinational firms often plays a key role in the economic development of host nations by enhancing human capital, conferring technology spillovers, and competitiveness (Barrell and Pain 1997) – and the evidence is that Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese investments have benefited European host countries (Strange, 2002; Lee et al., 2012). Of itself, this provides the incentive for the governments of Europe to compete in influencing the decision process of multinational firms – to attract them to their constituencies, while hoping that these firms embed themselves locally.

The courting of Chinese firms by European Union member states has to be understood with this in mind. Although Chinese investments remain small to date, their growth over recent years and the rising assertiveness of Chinese companies strongly suggests a trend towards increased activity and greater visibility within Europe (Clegg and Voss, 2012). Analysing and comparing how Chinese investors, and investors from other East Asian nations, have approached and developed in Europe over time will yield important insights for scholarly understanding and for practitioners in European and other host countries.

Contributions are invited to investigate how and to what extent East Asian firms in Europe have evolved, while adapting to a different institutional context and embedding in the local economies. All contributions should shed light on specific characteristics of East Asian firms, and should consider critically if an East Asian ‘model’ of investment into Europe can be identified. If there were such a model, is there any evidence that late-comer investors from China, Korea and Taiwan have learned from the experience of Japanese firms with their long history of European activities? In other words, is there something akin to a demonstration effect from Japanese investors to other East Asian enterprises? And we know that, by and large, it is Japanese and Chinese firms that have invested in Western Europe, while Korean firms have preferred the Central and Eastern European member states. How has this difference in location affected local embeddedness and linkage building by investors? And what part is played by cooperation and competition between East Asian firms within the theatre of Europe? Suggested include subject coverage Investment and divestment strategies of East Asian businesses in Europe Local embeddedness and linkages of East Asian businesses in Europe Competitiveness of East Asian firms in Europe Adaptive processes and strategies Effect of the enlarging of the European Union on East Asian businesses.

Guidance notes

  1. Articles should be based on original research and/or innovative analysis.
  2. The main findings should not have been published or submitted elsewhere.
  3. The editors expect articles to be theoretically informed and to express novel interpretations of East Asian business history in Europe with implications for East Asian business history more generally.
  4. Authors wishing to use social science or managerial instruments of analysis should adapt them so that they allow for dynamic and not simply cross-sectional analysis. Articles should explain change across time and not simply examine static conditions.
  5. Authors are welcome to discuss ideas for papers with the guest editors Business History specific author and formatting guidelines can be found on the journal’s website:

Submitting your manuscript

Submitted manuscripts should not have been previous published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. All manuscripts are refereed through a double-blind peer review process. Please submit your manuscript online by 31 May 2015: When submitting online, please clearly indicate the Special Issue it is for.