To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Chinese M & A in Europe: Emerging market multinational in the heavy construction industry

Francesca Spigarelli (Department of Law, University of Macerata Macerata, Italy)
Ilan Alon (International Business Department, Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, USA)
Attilio Mucelli (Department of Management, Polytechnic University of Marche, Ancona, Italy)

Competitiveness Review

ISSN: 1059-5422

Article publication date: 20 July 2015




This paper aims to examine the global competitiveness of an emerging market multinational (EMM) from China through the case of a major European acquisition, in Italy, in the heavy construction industry. Country- and firm-specific factors are considered. Horizontal integration in this oligopolistic industry changes the industry dynamics, with significant implications for its players.


The paper follows case study methodology and triangulates data through a literature review, an examination of available company data and interviews of key personnel. Firm- and country-specific factors, both advantages and disadvantages, including the business environment in the construction industry, globally and regionally, are analyzed.


The paper identifies several key success factors at the firm level, including the integration of research and development, marketing and sales; the development of extensive communication and trust among the managers of both companies; the exploitation of the Chinese market as a source of demand; and the shifting of selected production lines to the Chinese market.

Research limitations/implications

The traditional models of country-specific advantages/disadvantages and firm-specific advantages/disadvantages are augmented by examining the host market and industry task environments. Host country-specific factors for successful integration include favorable local conditions, both in terms of endowments and institutions, and an industrial cluster with supporting firms and services.

Practical implications

Following the case study, managers can refer to the key success factors to emulate “best practices”. The paper concludes with a heuristic developed by the Chairman of Zoomlinon, Chunxin Zhan, underlining five principles for a successful EEM acquisition: understanding, sharing, responsibility, compliance and coordination.


This paper develops a deep case study analysis and provides useful theoretical and practical implications with reference to Chinese acquisition in the Western markets.



Spigarelli, F., Alon, I. and Mucelli, A. (2015), "Chinese M & A in Europe: Emerging market multinational in the heavy construction industry", Competitiveness Review, Vol. 25 No. 4, pp. 346-370.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles