In light of the increasing efforts made by emerging market firms to engage in international business through importing activities, identifying the characteristics that motivate importing business and contribute to its success is practically and theoretically meaningful. Drawing upon a knowledge-based view (KBV), we examine how the shareholder internationality affects a firm’s importing activities. We hypothesize that the shareholder internationality can facilitate a firm’s import initiation and contribute to the diversity of importing countries of origin. Moreover, the divergence of shareholders’ nationality backgrounds may hinder import initiation, but motivate importing from dispersed countries of origin during the import development process. A longitudinal analysis of Colombian firms supports our hypotheses.
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