Informations and abstract
Keywords: Internationalization; Smes; International Marketing; China; Emerging Markets.
This paper analyzes the case study of two Italian medium-sized firms, Elledì (sweet and bakery products) and Inglesina (baby-gear sector). Although they operate in two different sectors, their internationalization process is characterized by common features. They are both family-owned companies that started to expand in foreign countries through exports, by approaching first, culturally proximate markets, then more distant markets like Far East. One developing market for Inglesina and Elledì is represented by China, where they entered at the beginning of 2000's. In the initial phases, the two Italian firms delegated most activities to their distributors, which allowed them to access a complex distribution system. On the other hand, an indirect strategy resulted in a slow market knowledge acquisition. Therefore, in the past few years Elledì and Inglesina have changed their approach to the Chinese market into a more direct strategy. Findings suggest that internationalization does not always result in an incremental process mediated by local distributors. Managerial implications are discussed on the extent to which internationalizing companies should actively engage in new markets, adopting marketing strategies in line with consumers' habits, values, and cultural system.