Market Exit and Re-Entry in a Volatile Emerging Economy: A Case Study of Yamaha Motorcycles in Pakistan

Huda Khan, Nadia Zahoor, Ahmad Arslan, Zaheer Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – This study was aimed at understanding the dynamics underpinning the exit and re-entry strategies adopted by multinational enterprises (MNEs) in an emerging market, Pakistan.
Design/methodology/approach – We undertook an in-depth historical case study of Yamaha Motorcycles, which had initially entered Pakistan as a joint venture but had then exited and reentered as a wholly-owned subsidiary.
Findings – We found that, despite its status as a market leader and one of the older players in the Pakistani market, changing market dynamics in the 2000s—especially the increased competition brought by more affordable (inexpensive) Chinese motorcycles and the weak enforcement of industrial policies—had pushed Yamaha Motorcycles to exit. Another factor that had contributed
to its exit were differences in risk perception and strategies with its local joint venture partner (a Pakistani business group). Hence, both firm-level and institutional factors had played significant roles in Yamaha’s market exit. We further found that re-entering in a wholly owned subsidiary operation mode had been beneficial for the firm, as it gained a significant market share due to its
focus on innovation and on capturing a market niche, which had earlier not been its main focus.
Our findings also suggest that opportunity logics and multiple forms of learning can be important for a firm’s re-entry into a host market—such as experiential (i.e., learning from experience) and vicarious learning (i.e., learning from other organizations, including suppliers and competitors) in an emerging market context, in which institutions evolve amid political and policy uncertainty.
Finally, we found that exit and re-entry timing is an important factor for the development of competitive advantage in a host market.
Originality – Our study is among the few to have investigated the exit and re-entry strategies of MNEs in emerging markets. The relatively short time during which Yamaha Motorcycles had been out of the market had benefited it on its re-entry, as the firm had been able to capitalize on its prior learning and ties to suppliers’ networks.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMultinational Business Review
Early online date8 May 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 May 2023


  • Foreign market exit
  • Market re-entry
  • Divestment
  • Learning
  • Auto industry
  • Emerging economy
  • Volatile markets
  • Pakistan
  • Historical Methods


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