Canadian High-Tech Micro-Multinationals Go to Asia

Published on May 26, 2017

As part of the Innovation Policy Lab research for the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs’ Creating Digital Opportunity (CDO) project, this report looks at Canadian high-tech companies in Asia, in particular the “micro-multinationals,” or companies that apart from Asia have locations in either the U.S. or Europe, or both.

Highlights
1
Canadian high-tech companies in Asia are overwhelmingly services-related SMEs; except advanced manufacturing, where 45% are large firms
2
Canada’s large firms expand internationally earlier than its SMEs on average, yet SMEs are more likely to have their first overseas location in Asia
3
Among the micro-multinationals, the ‘Asia First’ companies’ first locations are concentrated in China/Hong and ASEAN

For over three years, our University of Toronto team has been looking closely at Canadian companies that have established themselves in Asia, and the location of over 600 companies and organizations are now recorded on our interactive CanAsia Map. The interesting story behind this map is that it is small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and services-related firms that comprise the majority of these Asia locations. Which tells us that even small Canadian companies can go global quickly in response to the pull of Asia’s burgeoning markets.

As part of our Innovation Policy Lab research for the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs’ Creating Digital Opportunity (CDO) project, our team looked at Canadian high-tech companies in Asia, in particular the “micro-multinationals,” or companies that apart from Asia have locations in either the U.S. or Europe, or both. The CDO dataset of Canadian high-tech companies consists of 199 companies that have locations in Asia; the micro-multinational dataset consists of 120 companies.

The full report can be found here.

"The interesting story behind this map is that it is small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and services-related firms that comprise the majority of these Asia locations. Which tells us that even small Canadian companies can go global quickly in response to the pull of Asia’s burgeoning markets."