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Barriers to enter in foreign markets: evidence from SMEs in emerging market

Mahfuzur Rahman (Lincoln Business School, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK)
Moshfique Uddin (University of Leeds, Leeds, UK)
George Lodorfos (Leeds Business School, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 13 February 2017




Foreign market entry is considered as a key strategy to grow and survive over longer period of time for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The decision to enter a foreign market is not a straightforward story. Considering resource limitation, SMEs need to analyse the key barriers to entry in foreign markets very carefully. The purpose of this paper is to identify these barriers for the SMEs in a developing country.


This study has used primary data collected through questionnaires from 212 Bangladeshi SMEs. A mixed method data analysis technique is used to analyse the firms both from micro- and macro-levels. Following the running example-based case study approach, this study has developed and validated a partial least square-based structural model to assess the key barriers to entry in foreign markets.


This study has identified the key socio-economic barriers faced by the SMEs in a developing country to enter in foreign markets. It has successfully framed the socio-economic barriers to enter in foreign markets for Bangladeshi SMEs as a second-order hierarchical model.


It is often believed that foreign market entry is more affected by social barriers as explained by the existing theories including the Uppsala model. This study, however, revealed that the international market expansions of SMEs in developing countries are more sensitive to the economic barriers.



Rahman, M., Uddin, M. and Lodorfos, G. (2017), "Barriers to enter in foreign markets: evidence from SMEs in emerging market", International Marketing Review, Vol. 34 No. 1, pp. 68-86.



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