Tencent, Wechat, and New-to-world innovations in China

I published a new open-access research article in Strategy Science on how a Chinese company was able to create a new-to-the-world innovation. The company is Tencent and the product is Wechat, which most Chinese people use every day.  

AbstractChinese firms have been widely seen as imitative. This historical case study explores what organizational mechanisms allowed Tencent, a Chinese firm in the fast-changing instant messaging (IM) service sector, to achieve a new-to-the-world innovation with its WeChat smartphone app. Tracing the competitive dynamics in the Chinese IM sector from its inception, we found that Tencent was able to create the innovative WeChat product through a crisis-induced intrafirm coopetition dynamic that was embedded in variation-selection-retention evolutionary processes spanning the market, the firm, and the business unit levels. Building on the intrafirm coopetition and evolutionary literatures, the paper shows that three business units simultaneously competed and cooperated in developing alternative IM products while being exposed to market selection for survival. The coopetition dynamic took place in three key areas: technology, product promotion, and complementary assets of suppliers. The relative balance between competition and cooperation changed over time, and top management guidance and firm-level routines were essential in managing the challenges of coopetition within the firm.  Read full article

At the Academy of Management Meeting, held on-line because of COVID, I presented this paper in two parts. 

The first video gives a theorectical background for the paper (10min). 

The 2nd video presents the findings of paper and has a Q&A with other academics (20min). 

New Book: The Management Transformation of Huawei

By Xiaobo Wu, Johann Peter Murmann, Can Huang, and Bin Guo

The book is coming out in April 2020. 

Huawei has become China’s most prominent multinational company and a leader in the ICT sector. Given unprecedented access to the company, the authors of this book examine the management transformation of Huawei from its inception in 1987 until 2019, observing in detail not only the creation of its organizational routines but also the breaking of routines across most major functional areas: management, product development, HR, supply chain, finance, R&D, intellectual property, and international business. “Dynamic capabilities” are central to theories of competitive advantage and this book highlights Huawei as an ideal case study for the successful implementation of change routines and change-supporting values. The chapters cover all the major change initiatives the firm has undertaken since 1996 to import best practices from the west, with the help of consultants. The insights presented in the book will be particularly interesting for academics in the field of strategy, management, and business history.

More Info on Book.