Becoming multinational: challenges for Chinese firms

Oded Shenkar (Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA)

Journal of Chinese Economic and Foreign Trade Studies

ISSN: 1754-4408

Publication date: 2 October 2009



The purpose of this paper is to examine the features of Chinese multinational enterprises (MNEs), and identify the obstacles that Chinese firms must overcome if they are to become viable global competitors, as well as some of the strategies that can take them there.


Based on statistical data, the paper examines entry mode, regional and geographical distribution of Chinese outward foreign direct investment. It also discusses the obstacles, weaknesses and strengths of Chinese firms, and suggests where and how such firms can improve their capabilities.


If they are to become global competitors, Chinese firms need to develop an “MNE with Chinese characteristics” which builds on strengths such as a deep understanding of personal networks to solidify coordination and takes advantage of a tradition of appreciation of human relationships.


The paper presents a great deal of insight into Chinese MNEs.



Shenkar, O. (2009), "Becoming multinational: challenges for Chinese firms", Journal of Chinese Economic and Foreign Trade Studies, Vol. 2 No. 3, pp. 149-162.

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Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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