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Joint Venture vs. Strategic Alliance: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 14, 2024
Joint venture is a business arrangement where two or more parties collaborate on a specific project, sharing risks and rewards. Strategic alliance is a partnership where businesses collaborate for a strategic purpose without forming a new entity.

Key Differences

Joint ventures and strategic alliances represent two common ways businesses collaborate. Joint ventures involve creating a new entity owned by two or more firms, sharing profits, losses, and control. Strategic alliances, on the other hand, do not necessarily involve creating a new entity but are agreements between firms to pursue mutual goals while remaining independent.
In a joint venture, companies typically pool resources to achieve a specific goal or project. This often involves combining finances, technologies, or staff. In contrast, strategic alliances may involve collaboration in certain areas, like technology or marketing, while companies maintain their autonomy and do not blend their overall operations.
Risk-sharing is more pronounced in joint ventures. In a joint venture, because a new entity is formed, all parties share the risks associated with the venture. In a strategic alliance, while there is cooperation, firms do not typically share risks to the same extent, as they remain separate entities.
Duration and scope can differ between joint ventures and strategic alliances. Joint ventures are often formed for specific projects or a limited period. Strategic alliances, however, can be more flexible, ranging from short-term collaborations to long-term partnerships without a predefined end date.
Control and governance are key distinguishing factors. In a joint venture, control is typically shared according to the investment or agreement. In a strategic alliance, each company retains control over its operations, with cooperation governed by agreements rather than shared governance structures.

Comparison Chart

Entity Creation

Involves forming a new business entity
No new entity formed; firms remain independent

Risk Sharing

High, as risks are shared within the new entity
Lower, as each firm retains individual risk


Often project-specific or for a limited period
Can be short-term or long-term, more flexible

Control and Governance

Shared control according to investment or agreement
Each firm retains control, governed by agreements

Resource Pooling

Typically involves pooling of resources like finance, technology
May involve collaboration in specific areas, less resource pooling

Joint Venture and Strategic Alliance Definitions

Joint Venture

An alliance forming a new company for mutual benefit.
The joint venture created a new streaming service that combined the expertise of both media companies.

Strategic Alliance

A collaboration between businesses for a specific purpose without forming a new entity.
The software companies formed a strategic alliance to integrate their technologies.

Joint Venture

A business entity formed by two or more parties to achieve specific objectives.
The two companies formed a joint venture to develop new robotics technology.

Strategic Alliance

Cooperative arrangements between companies to enhance competitive advantage.
The tech giants entered into a strategic alliance to develop innovative AI solutions.

Joint Venture

A partnership where parties share risks, costs, and control in a specific project.
They entered into a joint venture to explore oil in the Arctic region.

Strategic Alliance

An agreement between firms to pursue common objectives while maintaining autonomy.
The strategic alliance enabled the companies to jointly market their products.

Joint Venture

A business cooperation where profits and losses are shared.
Their joint venture in the retail sector proved profitable within the first year.

Strategic Alliance

A long-term partnership focusing on specific business activities.
Their strategic alliance focused on research and development in renewable energy.

Joint Venture

A collaborative undertaking between companies for a finite time.
The joint venture between the car manufacturers was aimed at producing electric vehicles.

Strategic Alliance

A partnership formed to achieve strategic goals while remaining independent entities.
The strategic alliance between the airlines allowed them to share flight routes without merging.


Are strategic alliances legally binding?

Yes, strategic alliances are typically governed by legally binding agreements.

What is a strategic alliance?

A strategic alliance is a cooperative agreement between businesses to pursue shared objectives while remaining independent entities.

Can strategic alliances lead to mergers?

While not common, some strategic alliances may evolve into mergers if the parties find it beneficial.

How does a strategic alliance benefit companies?

It allows companies to collaborate on mutual goals while maintaining their independence and core business.

How does a joint venture differ from a strategic alliance?

A joint venture involves creating a new entity with shared risks and control, while a strategic alliance involves collaboration without forming a new company.

Can a joint venture be long-term?

Yes, while often project-specific, some joint ventures can be long-term if the involved parties agree.

What are the risks of a joint venture?

Risks include potential conflicts between partners, financial loss, and management challenges.

Can a strategic alliance involve competitors?

Yes, competitors sometimes form strategic alliances for mutual benefits in specific areas.

What is a joint venture?

A joint venture is a business arrangement where two or more parties establish a new entity to achieve specific goals, sharing risks and rewards.

Do joint ventures always involve financial investment?

Most joint ventures involve some financial investment, but the extent varies depending on the agreement.

What happens if a joint venture fails?

If a joint venture fails, the parties may dissolve the entity and absorb the losses according to their agreement.

What are the key elements of a successful strategic alliance?

Key elements include clear objectives, mutual trust, and effective communication.

Can strategic alliances be temporary?

Yes, they can be either temporary or long-term, depending on the objectives.

Can joint ventures be between more than two companies?

Yes, joint ventures can involve multiple companies collaborating on a project.

What is the main advantage of a joint venture?

A joint venture allows sharing of resources, expertise, and risks, potentially leading to greater success in a project.

How are profits distributed in a joint venture?

Profits are usually distributed according to the terms of the joint venture agreement.

Are joint ventures common in international business?

Yes, they are a popular way for companies to enter new markets by partnering with local firms.

Can a strategic alliance involve multiple parties?

Yes, strategic alliances can involve two or more parties.

Do strategic alliances require a new business structure?

No, strategic alliances do not typically require forming a new business structure.

What is the biggest challenge in forming a joint venture?

The biggest challenge is often aligning the goals and management styles of the different parties involved.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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