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The foreign direct investment behaviour of Chinese firms : does the 'new institutional theory' approach offer explanatory power?

By Hinrich Voss


The People's Republic of China has become a major source country for foreign direct investment. The objectives of this research are to identify the determinants of this phenomenon, to identify the international investment strategies pursued by Chinese MNEs, and to evaluate the\ud effect of the domestic and international institutional environments on the determinants, investment strategies and behaviour of Chinese MNEs. Particular emphasis is given to the role of cross-border business and social networks. To address these objectives a novel framework, termed the Chinese outward direct investment regime (or ODIR), is advanced and tested using methodological triangulation techniques. This is done using data obtained from several sources, namely interviews with managers at the headquarters of Chinese MNEs and Chinese government officials, a survey questionnaire distributed to Chinese affiliates in the UK and official FDI data obtained from SAFE and MOFCOM, which are used in two econometric\ud models of global Chinese ODI.\ud \ud The research makes a number of major contributions. First, the ODIR framework is found to have significant explanatory power in a number of key respects, especially in relation to the influence of domestic institutional factors on the internationalisation behaviour of Chinese MNEs. Second, the importance of domestic capital market imperfections as a driver of Chinese ODI is also confirmed. Capital market imperfections as a special application of the internalisation theory (Buckley and Casson, 1976) is argued to explain certain idiosyncratic investment behaviours observed among Chinese firms, especially in relation to host country risk. Third, a number of new proxies for international business research have been developed and\ud applied successfully in models. Fourth, New Institutional Theory, the Stages Theory and the New International Venture theory have all been tested for the first time in relation to Chinese ODI. Of these, New Institutional Theory was found to have greatest explanatory power

Publisher: Leeds University Business School
Year: 2007
OAI identifier:

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