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Partners in a journey to the centre of the world: Spanish and Japanese knowledge transfer and alliances in the Spanish healthcare industries (1960s-1980s)

This study analyses the role of commercial and technological alliances with Japanese firms in the internationalisation of Spanish healthcare corporations between the 1960s and the 1980s. These alliances taught the local partners to operate in global healthcare markets, particularly in legal, organisational, and financial terms. Firms like Almirall, Hubber, and Grifols benefitted from Japanese knowledge transfer to enter Asian and American healthcare markets. The case of Grifols, for which more archival sources are available, is the focus of the article, and demonstrates that alliances with Western subsidiaries of the Japanese Green Cross Corporation played an instrumental role in teaching the managers and technical staff of the Spanish healthcare firm to go beyond their previous exports and undertake foreign direct investments in the US health market. The study suggests a future research agenda to explore more about East–West alliances in the internationalisation of peripheral economies of the world.

Paloma Fernàndez Pérez

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