A dynamic process of building global supply chain competence by new ventures: The case of uniqlo

Tetsuya Usui, Masaaki Kotabe*, Janet Y. Murray

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


In today's volatile global marketplace, firms should pursue flexible asset distribution and high-quality, low-cost manufacturing operations simultaneously. Previous studies have examined the relationships between supplier management-related variables and market performance with cross-sectional data; however, little guidance is available for newly internationalizing ventures aiming to build a global supply chain network from scratch. To shed light on this dynamic process, we examine Uniqlo's successful supply chain development in China, using longitudinal contextual data. Our findings show that Uniqlo went through discrete dynamic stages in its supply chain development efforts. First, Uniqlo, initially a small firm, developed relational governance with its suppliers by exercising dynamic economic power concentration over time. Second, it began to provide technical support to help its suppliers build competence with the aim of increasing their cooperation. Third, Uniqlo enforced compulsory nonexclusivity arrangements with suppliers to achieve supplier flexibility by not just having Uniqlo as primary customer. This provides relational flexibility through both relational governance and partner flexibility for the principal firm in the global supply chain development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of International Marketing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • China
  • Dynamic proccss
  • Global market
  • Internationalization
  • Japanese management
  • Relational flexibility
  • Supply chain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


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