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Determinants of foreign direct investment at the regional level in China

Lv Na (University of International Business and Economics, Beijing, China)
W.S. Lightfoot (International University of Monaco, Monaco)

Journal of Technology Management in China

ISSN: 1746-8779

Article publication date: 1 September 2006

Abstract

Purpose

This paper sets out to analyze the determinants of foreign direct investment (FDI) on both the country and regional level through the extensive review of past research studies, as well as through the development of a multiple regression model for identifying key determinants of FDI at the regional level in China during the critical year of 2002.

Design/methodology/approach

The development of a multiple regression model to identify statistically significant determinants of FDI by region in China.

Findings

As reforms continue to take place, FDI in China has been unevenly distributed. This paper examines five potential determinants of FDI in 30 regions (including provinces, centrally controlled municipalities, and semi‐autonomous regions) of China using a regression model. The specific focus is on 2002, as it is the first full year after China's accession to the World Trade Organization, and the first year in which China exceeded the USA in attracting FDI. From this initial study, one can conclude that the government should consider encouraging capital‐intensive FDI through the further development of a skilled workforce. This means increasing funding for higher education, and infrastructure, while also encouraging more openness in state‐owned enterprises. This paper sets up further research that may help expose regions with greater potential for FDI, as well as identifying regions which need to improve certain conditions in order to receive more FDI.

Originality/value

This paper analyzes the determinants of FDI by region in China in 2002. This year is particularly interesting as it is both the first full year after China's accession to the World Trade Organization, as well as the first year in which FDI was greater in China than in the USA While this research study is only a snap shot of a topic that is of increasing importance to China, it has direct relevance to the FDI development efforts of the individual regions. This study provides evidence that GDP that proxies for the market size and potential is shown to be a big attraction for FDI. Labor quality and the progress of reform or the degree of openness are also important determinants of the distribution of FDI. There is some mild evidence that high labor cost deters the inflow of FDI and the level of infrastructure has positive relation to FDI. These results have important implications for both the central and regional governments as they can be useful in helping the authorities to allocate funds and resources which will help attract FDI.

Keywords

Citation

Na, L. and Lightfoot, W.S. (2006), "Determinants of foreign direct investment at the regional level in China", Journal of Technology Management in China, Vol. 1 No. 3, pp. 262-278. https://doi.org/10.1108/17468770610704930

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited