This article analyses how firms use events and trade fairs for external knowledge sourcing, which barriers emerge and how event organisers strategically mediate and influence those processes. The research setting focuses on two major automotive events in Shanghai, highlighting that knowledge sourcing in these events do complement other types of knowledge accessed in permanent ‘sites’ and organisational configurations, such as in clusters and through joint-ventures. Firms use automotive events to access buzz, to monitor other firms and to explore options for new collaborations. Yet, it is also argued that a focus on existing relations, the defensive strategies deployed by lead firms and the intrinsic complexity of exhibited technologies hinder the process of knowledge sourcing that is influenced by event organisers’ content, matchmaking and access policies.

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Keywords automotive industry, China, event organisers, Knowledge sourcing, trade fairs
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Series ERIM Top-Core Articles
Journal Industry and Innovation
van Tuijl, E, Carvalho, L, & Dittrich, K. (2018). Beyond the joint-venture: knowledge sourcing in Chinese automotive events. Industry and Innovation, 25(4), 389–407. doi:10.1080/13662716.2017.1414749