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How local dealers benefit from their international participation: evidence from Africa

Lian Zhang (Sincerity Holding Group, Guangdong, China)
Qingtao Wang (Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Chengdu, China)
Qiyuan Zhang (South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, China)
Kevin Zheng Zhou (The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 30 January 2024

Issue publication date: 10 April 2024




Although the prior literature has identified the relevance of dealer participation for multinational enterprises (MNEs), it is unclear whether such participation could also be an important means for local dealers to learn from MNEs. By adopting local firms’ viewpoint, our study draws on organizational learning theory to examine how local dealers benefit from their participation with foreign suppliers in Africa.


The empirical setting is a combinative dataset of secondary data and primary survey of 164 small- and medium-sized local dealers with nine subsidiaries of a Chinese motorcycle company in six countries of Sub-Saharan Africa.


This research shows that dealer participation is positively associated with dealer performance, and this positive effect is stronger when local dealers operate in regions with low government corruption and high government support. However, the positive relationship is weaker when local dealers use the local tongue extensively but becomes stronger when their foreign suppliers have a high dealer coverage.


By taking a local-participant perspective, our study extends the participation literature to show how firms from a resource-constrained region may benefit from their proactive participation with foreign counterparts. Additionally, we identify the boundary conditions of institutional factors and strategic choices of local dealers and foreign suppliers, providing a nuanced understanding of firm behaviors in complex and uncertain markets.



This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 71602173; 71872159). The authors thank the handling editor and three anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments and guidance. All authors contribute equally to this project.


Zhang, L., Wang, Q., Zhang, Q. and Zhou, K.Z. (2024), "How local dealers benefit from their international participation: evidence from Africa", International Marketing Review, Vol. 41 No. 2, pp. 440-468.



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