GRA 8248 Global Business in Asia: A Focus on China

GRA 8248 Global Business in Asia: A Focus on China

Course code: 
GRA 8248
Strategy and Entrepreneurship
Course coordinator: 
Birgitte Grøgaard
Heidi Wiig
Course name in Norwegian: 
Global Business in Asia: A Focus on China
Product category: 
EMBA Global - Programme Courses
2020 Autumn
Active status: 
Level of study: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

This specialization course focuses on the Asian Business context, with a particular emphasis on China in the global competitive landscape. The Asian region has experience a surge of inward and outward foreign direct investments. We discuss the Asian competitive landscape, and focus on the growth and internationalization of multinationals from this region. This provides a particularly interesting context of global business, allowing us to examine transition economies that seek to encourage and support business activities while ensuring both social and economic growth.

Many of the largest multinationals in both Norway and China have significant state ownership. The countries thus combine focus on state control and global competition, albeit through very different governance systems. While state-owned firms have existed for centuries, they are often perceived as ‘newcomers’ to the international arena. Chinese firms and the Chinese business context has in particular received much scrutiny in international business literature, with the blurring boundaries of state and private market actors, and the changing institutional environment. We discuss the boundary conditions of existing theoretical perspectives for firms engaging in business activities in Asia, as well as for other newcomers to the competitive landscape such as emerging market multinationals and firms with alternative governance structures.

The sessions in this global specialization course will be taught by faculty members at BI Norwegian Business School and BI’s partner institution in Shanghai Fudan University.

Learning outcomes - Knowledge
  • Participants have developed a basic macro level understanding of the Asian business context
  • Participants have a basic understanding of the historical, institutional, economic and cultural characteristics of the Chinese business context and the implications of these for business decisions
  • Participants can critically assess the applicability of existing theories, frameworks, and tools for emerging market firms and newcomers to the competitive landscape
  • Participants can assess the need for local adaptation of functional activities
Learning outcomes - Skills

The classroom sessions will be interactive and focused on leveraging experiences and available data, cases and examples to develop skills. After finishing the specialization, participants will:

  • have developed their ability to critically assess the applicability of tools and frameworks for new types of organizational configurations and different external contexts.
  • be able to identify unique characteristics of the Asian business context
  • be able to critically assee
  • have the ability to identify and analyze relevant information to make better decisions. This includes the need to understand when and how to apply tools and frameworks.
  • be able to make persuasive arguments in both written and oral form.
General Competence
  • Participants understand the complexities and challenges related to business in the Chinese context
  • Participants are able to reflect on the role of China in Asia and the global business context
  • Participants can reflect on the applicability of established theories and frameworks for new contexts such as emerging markets and newcomers to the global competitive landscape such as emerging market multinationals and the increasing number of global state owned firms.
Course content

This course focuses on the Asian Business context, with a particular emphasis on China’s role and influence in the region and global competitive landscape. BI has a partnership in Shanghai with Fudan University, where our joint MBA program ranks among the world’s best part-time MBA programs, according to Financial Times. The course mixes lectures from local faculty at Fudan University and BI faculty, with guest lectures and company visits.

Key topics include (but are not limited to):

  • The Asian Business context, with a particular focus on China (history, culture, politics).
  • Macro-economic trends
  • Internationalization in and out of China
  • Asian innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Intellectual property rights/patents in China
  • Sustainability and the environment
  • Marketing in China
Teaching and learning activities

1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours.

The course is conducted through a total of 54 hours of lectures and 96 hours of self-study.

Attendance to all sessions in the course is compulsory. If you have to miss part(s) of the course you must ask in advance for leave of absence. More than 25% absence in a course will require retaking the entire course. It's the student's own responsibility to obtain any information provided in class that is not included on the course homepage/ It's learning or other course materials.

This is a course with continuous assessment (several exam components) and one final exam code. Each exam component will be graded using points on a scale 0 -100. The components will be weighted together according to the information in the course description in order to calculate the final letter grade for the course. Students who fail to participate in one/some/all exam components will get a lower grade or may fail the course. Candidates may be called in for an oral hearing as a verification/control of written assignments.

Specific information regarding the points system and the mapping scale beyond the information given in the course description will be provided in class. This information may be relevant for requirements for term papers or other hand-ins, and/or where class participation can be one of several elements of the overall evaluation.

The course is a part of a full Executive MBA programme and examination in all courses must be passed in order to obtain a certificate.

Software tools
No specified computer-based tools are required.

Granted admission to the EMBA programme. Please consult our student regulations.


Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there may be deviations in teaching and learning activities as well as exams, compared with what is described in this course description.

Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Class participation
Class participation, counts 40% of the final grade.
Exam code: 
GRA 82481
Grading scale: 
Point scale leading to ECTS letter grade
All components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course
Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Written submission
3 Week(s)
Individual written assignment, counts 60% of the final grade. The individual written assignment is due approximately three weeks after the module has ended.
Exam code: 
GRA 82481
Grading scale: 
Point scale leading to ECTS letter grade
All components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course
Type of Assessment: 
Continuous assessment
Grading scale: 
Total weight: 
Student workload
40 Hour(s)
Prepare for teaching
35 Hour(s)
Student's own work with learning resources
75 Hour(s)
Self study, feedback activities/counselling and exam.
Sum workload: 

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 5 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of at least 135 hours.