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The role of agglomeration economies for SME transnationalisation: Bypassing the global urban service nexus?

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posted on 2019-02-08, 09:27 authored by Michiel Van Meeteren
A growing number of West European Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) attempt to reap the benefits of low production costs and growing demand in emerging Asian economies, by way of firm transnationalization. Successful transnationalization entails adaptation to completely different institutional environments. This requires the acquisition of both foreign knowledge and social networks. The economic geography literature tends to stress the importance of agglomeration externalities in this regard, since it is in large agglomerations where transnational connections are common. This paper gauges the the role of agglomeration externalities for eleven Dutch transnational SMEs that built a subsidiary in East or Southeast Asia. Contrary to expectations, agglomeration externalities in the home environment played a limited role. The researched SMEs source knowledge abroad, on conferences and with their non-local suppliers. Advanced producer services played a very modest role in this regard: the global urban service nexus emphasized by world cities research is often circumvented. As such, the findings of this paper do not corroborate the idea that regional resilience in less urbanized areas ought to stem from embracing urbanization. Instead, analyzing resilience should employ a finer distinction of different kinds of agglomeration externalities and their respective geographical ranges and scales.



  • Social Sciences


  • Geography and Environment

Published in

Regional Resilience, Economy and Society: Globalising Rural Places


231 - 248


VAN MEETEREN, M., 2013. The role of agglomeration economies for SME transnationalisation: Bypassing the global urban service nexus? IN: Tamasy, C. and Revilla Diez, J. (eds.) Regional Resilience, Economy and Society: Globalising Rural Places. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, pp. 231 - 248.


© the Authors. Published by Routledge


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date



This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Regional Resilience, Economy and Society on [8 April 2016, available online: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315604435




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