Determinants of a firm's export-sales ratio (degree of internationalisation) are frequently discussed in the literature related to individual firms' export activities. Stylised facts show a positive relationship between firm size and firm age on the one hand and the firm's export-sales ratio on the other hand. However, anecdotic evidence and recent empirical results revealed that it is not size or age per se that leads to a high export-sales ratio. This paper analyses the export-sales ratio of a sample of young technology-oriented firms in Germany and the UK. The empirical results confirm that neither youth nor smallness are necessarily an obstacle to realising a high degree of internationalisation. However, this requires that the firms possess firm-specific assets in order to overcome barriers to entry into the foreign market. These firm-specific assets may be acquired via conducting own R&D activities, buying novel technology from other companies, or by employing internationally experienced managers.
Fryges, Helmut (2006), Hidden Champions ? How Young and Small Technology-Oriented Firms Can Attain High Export-Sales Ratios, ZEW Discussion Paper No. 06-045, Mannheim. Download