The purpose of this paper is to analyze the role of institutional distance and host country attractiveness in location determinants of Chinese Foreign investments in EU in the renewable energy sector, taking into account bilateral political and economic relations.
A firm-level Ministry of Commerce (MofCom) database of greenfield and non-greenfield Chinese investments abroad is used. A six fixed-effects logit analysis is performed.
Chinese firms tend to invest in EU countries with reduced rule of law; market affluence is an attraction factor for them, but they do not seem to be human capital asset-seekers. Countries with politically stable environment are most attractive to sales/services subsidiaries; while countries with good control of corruption, low trade barriers and encouraging foreign ownership are most attractive to manufacturing subsidiaries. A large market is the most attractive factor for R & D subsidiaries, and a rich market is the most attractive factor for manufacturing subsidiaries. Manufacturing subsidiaries are more technological asset-seekers. R & D subsidiaries are the most non-human capital asset-seekers.
The study extends the state of the art of the literature by developing a theoretical framework, grounded on the influence of host country institutional factors and on endowment of resources on the location choice of Chinese investors. Further variables should be included in the future (industrial specialization of host country, cultural distance, bilateral ties).
Policy implications are relevant. They are related both to outward foreign direct investment attraction policies and to Europe-China cooperation dialogue. With reference to attraction policies, as Chinese green firms are technological asset-seekers, more than human capital asset-seekers, EU countries interested in partnering with Chinese investors should develop specific measures targeting encouraging technology spillover. Even R & D subsidiaries should be tempted with technology-oriented measures. With reference to Europe-China cooperation, the paper findings support suggestions for a more active European position on foreign investments in key European energy sectors.
The paper is grounded on an improved theoretical model, tested through a unique Mofcom firm-level database. Originality lies in the fact that the authors provide a sectoral insight. The need for sectoral analysis is fundamental as Chinese industrial development and internationalization path vary extensively across industry, due to policy interventions, supportive measures and prioritized initiatives. Zhang et al. (2011, p. 229) found that – specifically – the energy sector is highly sensitive to host country institutional context, therefore Chinese foreign direct investment are more likely to be exposed to regulatory and competitive pressure compared to other industries.
This paper was funded by the following research grants: Francesca Spigarelli was supported by People Programme (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007-2013/ under REA grant agreement no. 318908. Ping Lv was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (nos 71002082, 71472173).
Lv, P. and Spigarelli, F. (2016), "The determinants of location choice: Chinese foreign direct investments in the European renewable energy sector", International Journal of Emerging Markets, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 333-356. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOEM-09-2014-0137Download as .RIS
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