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International Market Entry and Expansion Via Independent or Integrated Channels of Distribution, Journal of Marketing


Manufacturers introducing an industrial product to a foreign market face a difficult decision. Should the product be marketed primarily by captive agents (company salesforce and company distribution division) or by independent intermediaries (outside sates agents and distributors)? This is an issue of downstream vertical integration. The authors explore the issue through an empirical investigation of distribution channel choice in foreign markets by U.S. semiconductor companies. Using original interview data, they develop scales to measure key variables. With these measures they build a logistic regression model of what factors affect the form of the distribution channel chosen in various foreign markets. The results indicate that integration is associated with the degree of transaction specificity of assets in the distribution function and whether or not the product being introduced is highly differentiated. There is evidence that the product will be sold through whatever channel is already in place, if any. Further, American firms seem more likely to integrate the distribution channel in highly developed industrialized countries (Western Europe) than in Japan and Southeast Asia, which are more culturally dissimilar. Implications for managers faced with a channel choice are explored.




Anne Coughlan

Date Published



Coughlan, Anne. 1987. International Market Entry and Expansion Via Independent or Integrated Channels of Distribution. Journal of Marketing. 51(1): 71-82.


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