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The internationalization of Chinese companies: What do official statistics tell us about Chinese outward foreign direct investment?

Yun Schüler‐Zhou (Institute for Marketing and Media, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany)
Margot Schüller (German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, Germany)

Chinese Management Studies

ISSN: 1750-614X

Article publication date: 3 April 2009

4763

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to offer a critical perspective on China's official outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) data, commonly used in most research on the internationalization of Chinese companies. Owing to the deficiencies of China's statistical system, official OFDI data leave us with only a limited understanding of the pattern of Chinese OFDI in general and cross‐border mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in particular.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a theoretical discussion of the internationalization of companies, some propositions about the development pattern of Chinese M&As are derived. This study uses the Dealogic database, which covers Chinese cross‐border M&As during the period from January 1999 to May 2007 in order to analyse the development trend, geographical destination, sectoral distribution, and equity participation of Chinese cross‐border M&As.

Findings

First, the growth of China's OFDI has not been as fast as expected, while the development of cross‐border M&As has been very impressive. Second, although official OFDI statistics reveal that Asia remains the most important investment destination, our M&A data analysis shows that the developed countries in the West have attracted most Chinese cross‐border M&A investments. Third, in contrast to the official OFDI statistics, our findings reveal a heavy concentration of M&As in mining and manufacturing. Finally, our cross‐border M&A data suggest that Chinese companies predominantly seek high‐level equity participation in the acquired target companies abroad.

Originality/value

This paper fills a gap in the study of the development pattern of Chinese cross‐border M&A investments and offers a complementary view and a better understanding of the internationalization of Chinese companies.

Keywords

Citation

Schüler‐Zhou, Y. and Schüller, M. (2009), "The internationalization of Chinese companies: What do official statistics tell us about Chinese outward foreign direct investment?", Chinese Management Studies, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 25-42. https://doi.org/10.1108/17506140910946124

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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