Recent international entrepreneurship literature suggests an apparent tension in regard to the role of foreign market knowledge between the process models of internationalization and the early internationalization of born-global firms. From an entrepreneurial learning perspective, we argue that the tension can be resolved by understanding the source of the knowledge. For early internationalizing firms, foreign market knowledge tends to emanate from the innovative and proactive pursuit of entrepreneurial opportunities across national borders, rather than from incremental accumulation of experience in foreign markets. Using survey data from young international entrepreneurial firms in mainland China, we test and support a mediating mechanism of foreign market knowledge as it relates to the pace and performance of early internationalization. This study contributes to the theoretical development in the emergent field of international entrepreneurship.



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