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Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice

For a Special Issue on

Adapting to the Global Shift: Contemporary Challenges in B2B Firm Internationalization

Manuscript deadline
30 June 2024

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Special Issue Editor(s)

Xinchun Wang, West Virginia University, USA
[email protected]

Lixun Su, Eastern Kentucky University, USA
[email protected]

Ruiqi Wei, Emlyon Business School, France
[email protected]

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Adapting to the Global Shift: Contemporary Challenges in B2B Firm Internationalization


As firms face increasing competition in domestic markets, many choose to enter the global market to explore more potential and better opportunities to grow their businesses (e.g., Acikdilli et al., 2022). Compared to other firms, business-to-business (B2B) firms rely heavily on networks and inter-firm relationships (Palmatier et al., 2006; Tanner et al., 2021). While benefiting from the global market, the ever-changing institutional environments and policies in different countries have created both opportunities and challenges in international trade for B2B firms (Alexander et al., 2019; Singh & Gaur, 2021; Peng, Wang & Jiang, 2008; Vivek et al., 2022). For example, rising manufacturing costs in some countries have pushed some B2B firms to relocate their manufacturing plants to other countries. Such a relocation strategy has created new challenges for managers working in B2B firms in the home and host countries. In addition, the new business environment has also facilitated the advancement of emerging digital technologies (Lacka et al., 2020; Bezuidenhout et al., 2022; Hazzam & Wilkins 2022). For example, digital platforms and artificial intelligence technologies have been playing a more and more important role in facilitating B2B firms’ international expansion and managing complex business networks for firms (Hazzam & Wilkins, 2022; Nambisan et al., 2019; Wei et al., 2021; Wang et al., 2020).

In addition, in light of the data published by the World Bank, the global average levels of imports of goods and services as a percentage of GDP reached their peak in 2008 at 30.4%. Since then, these levels have remained below 30% (World Bank, 2022). A similar trend can be observed in the world average levels of foreign direct investment as a percentage of GDP, which reached its highest point in 2007 at 5.3% and dropped to 1.1% in 2018 (World Bank, 2021). These statistics indicate that deglobalization began as early as 2007 (Witt, 2019). Faced with this trend, B2B managers may need to solve a dilemma where they need to explore the opportunities in the global market, yet they may face intense deglobalization pressure from other established companies in the home country.

Overall, managers in B2B firms face both opportunities and challenges when internationalizing their businesses to the today’s global markets. While most previous studies mainly focus on the internationalization of B2C firms, few have shed light on how B2B firms manage their internationalization process and overcome various new challenges and issues in the global market.

Objectives of the Special Issue

In this special issue, we aim to provide collective insights into the issues B2B firms face in today’s international market. By investigating those issues, we hope to provide B2B managers with potential solutions to help them better manage their businesses in the international market. The potential research questions might include (but certainly are not restricted to) the following:

  1. What are the most significant challenges faced by B2B firms during the internationalization process in today’s international markets?
  2. What specific challenges do small and medium enterprises (SMEs) face in cross-border B2B marketing?
  3. How can emergent technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain help navigate these challenges?
  4. How do digital platforms affect the international expansion of B2B firms?
  5. In the post-pandemic era, how are buyer-seller new product development practices reshaped in international markets?
  6. How do B2B firms establish and manage relationships with international partners, suppliers, and customers during the process of internationalization and manufacturing relocation?
  7. How do B2B firms in emerging countries manage the transition from being predominantly low-cost manufacturing destinations to becoming hubs for high-value-added production and innovation in the international market?
  8. How does the institutional environment, including that in the home and foreign markets, affect a B2B firm’s internationalization?
  9. Under de-globalization pressure, how do B2B firms adjust their strategies in international markets?
  10. How do managers’ characteristics affect a B2B firm’s internalization success?