Pearl River is the world’s largest piano maker. It is also the fastest-growing piano maker in North America, with the largest dealer network in Canada and the United States. The company has in fact surpassed Yamaha and Steinway, both of which are reputed piano-making companies. But it is not very well-known despite its claim that it is “the world’s bestselling piano.” In a bold move to overcome buyer’s reservations about purchasing high-end Chinese products, PRPG acquired Ritmüller of Germany, one of the first piano makers in Germany and one of the most prominent in the world. The German company, despite its great history, had been struggling and couldn’t survive the disruptive, mass-production technologies unleashed by companies like Yamaha and Pearl Water. The alliance between PRPG and Ritmüller has benefited both the companies. PRPG now sells pianos crafted with German precision and is now able to enter the high-end market despite the Chinese tag. The German company, which was on the verge of bankruptcy, has been rejuvenated.

Drawing on the industry-based, resource-based, and institution-based views, explain how Pearl River, from its humble roots, became China’s and the world’s largest piano producer.

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Why did Pearl River’s top management believe that the firm must engage in significant internationalization (beyond the direct export strategy)?

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