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Born Global, Made Local: Multinational Enterprise and Australia's Early Wireless Industry

Australian Economic History Review

Published online on


This article analyses the evolution of multinational enterprise through a case study of the Australasian wireless company, AWA, in the first half of the twentieth century. Ownership, location, and internalisation advantages explain aspects of the industry's rapid internationalisation, but other factors, including restrictive domestic legislation and oligopolistic competition, are also important. The imperialism of the era encouraged globalisation while binding companies to host nations' strategic imperatives and coordinated policy frameworks. Location factors included government desires to control wireless, especially once broadcasting developed in the 1920s, and to expand local manufacturing capacity for the emerging consumer electrical economy.