Internationalization of China’s medical device industry: a case study in Brazil


  • Gustavo Menoncin de Carvalho Pereira Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing – ESPM
  • Mario Henrique Ogasavara Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing – ESPM



Internationalization, Supply chain strategies, Medical devices, Chinese multinational, Uppsala model



The singularity of being the first Chinese manufacturer of drug-eluting stents to arrive in Brazil and the country being selected as the company's first experience outside its home country motivated the interest in the study of this case, vis-à-vis with the characteristic of internationalization medical device companies according to the Uppsala model. Considering this context, the following research question was outlined: “How did Microport internationalize before the distribution of its stents product in Brazil?” The aim of the study is to investigate Microport's internationalization process for the distribution of its drug-eluting stents in Brazil.


Exploratory research under the qualitative method was adopted. It chose the single case study as a procedure for data collection, as it is a revealing, exemplary subject that offers opportunities for access to unusual research. The company MicroPort was chosen because in the period when Chinese medical device companies were focused on gaining market share in China, MicroPort began its international expansion, choosing Brazil as the first country to have its own subsidiary. It consists in the case of the internationalization of a high-tech EMNE in an emerging country that has institutional and cultural differences.


Taking advantage of new technology in highly internationalized environments favors its insertion; the internationalization of medical technology can expand according to the Uppsala Model, which does not explain internationalization, but rather its evolution. Cultural and behavioral issues reinforce that the development of the market for medical devices depends on local perspectives and values. The formation of an ecosystem in the local market for internationalization is observed. One implication of the study is that MicroPort's experience and the application of the Uppsala model for international expansion can serve as an important learning experience for Brazilian multinational companies.

Research limitations/implications

Empirical analysis carried out in the context of a single company. Although the results can be used as lessons learned from the application of the Uppsala model for international expansion of EMNE in an emerging market, caution should be exercised when generalizing its findings. Future studies could carry out comparative cases considering other emerging multinational companies, from the same sector or even from different industries, investing in other emerging markets. There is a limitation of the fact that the case studied does not explore the concepts of the later stages of the Uppsala model.

Practical implications

High-tech EMNEs internationalizing in other markets need to adopt aggressive strategies. The need to adopt different strategies for supply chain operations according to the specificities of the markets in which they operate. Important contributions to the Uppsala model, with regard to the process of passing stages, learning and networking. The findings of this study have similarities to the process described as a sequence of distinct phases of activities.

Social implications

A local top management team is essential to deal with institutional issues of government agencies when EMNE is internationalized in a culturally distant market. When there are major institutional differences between the country of origin and the host country, the autonomy in the management of the foreign subsidiary positively influences the acceleration of the internationalization process of companies in the high-tech sector. When there are major institutional differences between the country of origin and the country of destination, the use of local social networks positively influences the acceleration of the internationalization process of companies in the high-technology sector.


Regardless of these limitations, the study provided an exciting case of internationalization of a Chinese company in Brazil operating in a high-tech medical sector. The challenges for the internationalization of EMNEs continue, which makes it opportune for future studies to include more research in this area. The propositions suggested in the study may be the first step.


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