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Tesco Strikes Out into Asia

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image of Frontiers of Business Research in China

The case looks at the internationalisation of Tesco PLC, a successful UK retailing business, and in particular how and why it has gone about developing its business in Southeast/East Asia. The case is suitable for use with final year undergraduate and especially postgraduate students, in either corporate strategy or international business modules. The case follows Tesco’s moves into Thailand, South Korea, and most recently China. It is found that the methods of entry to the new markets/countries and strategies used post-entry have varied country by country, culture by culture. The strategies adopted are found not to have been universally successful, which raises questions as to why that may be. It is expected that students will be able to identify the entry methods and reasons for their use; determine the business strategies adopted country by country, explore why they may differ, and locate the influences of the varying cultures. They will be expected to assess how successful Tesco has been in these processes. Finally, they should explore the question whether the giant China market can indeed be “an ultimate prize” and if so how it should best be tackled. For the time being, South Korea is arguably the most successful part of the company’s Asian push.


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