FDI, service intensity, and international marketing agility

Ruiqin Li (School of International Trade and Economics, Central University of Finance and Economics, Haidian District, Beijing, China)
Yipeng Liu (Henley Business School, University of Reading, UK)
Oscar F. Bustinza (University of Granada, Granada, Spain)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Publication date: 8 April 2019



The purpose of this paper is to provide a nuanced understanding of international marketing agility by connecting organizational capability literature with that of standardization and adaptation. The focus of the research is to clarify whether managing the tension between product standardization and service customization generates an extra premium in international markets.


Two disaggregated Chinese data sets, the Annual Survey of Industrial Enterprises and the China Customs Database, are used for developing an econometric model. Export quality improvement is the outcome variable in reflecting the effect of international marketing agility on performance.


International marketing agility is reached through upstream FDI intensity, particularly in the context of service FDI. Manufacturing sectors with higher service intensity have more agility, being more likely to generate export quality.

Research limitations/implications

This study makes three theoretical contributions by clarifying the concept of international marketing agility as an organizational capability generated by manufacturing standardization and service customization; investigating the influence of upstream FDI intensity for export quality while taking into account the industry contexts; and obtaining an enhanced understanding of the service intensity of manufacturing firms on export quality.


The authors offer a nuanced and contextualized understanding of international marketing agility and explore the complex relationships between FDI, service intensity and export quality.



Li, R., Liu, Y. and Bustinza, O. (2019), "FDI, service intensity, and international marketing agility", International Marketing Review, Vol. 36 No. 2, pp. 213-238. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMR-01-2018-0031

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