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New Facts about BRIC Multinationals: From Macro to Micro Evidence

The Challenge of Bric Multinationals

ISBN: 978-1-78635-350-4, eISBN: 978-1-78635-349-8

Publication date: 24 November 2016



In this chapter, we document the growing importance of FDI from BRIC countries in relation to FDI from both developed and developing countries and investigate the types of firms that are responsible for BRIC FDI.


We follow a two-step empirical approach. First, we provide macro evidence on FDI from BRIC countries. We use UNCTAD data to highlight the patterns of FDI flows and stocks. Second, we provide firm-level evidence on FDI. Using ORBIS data, we elaborate a rich taxonomy of FDI that accounts for the decision to invest abroad and for the location, ownership, and number of foreign subsidiaries. Thus, we characterize BRIC multinationals’ involvement in FDI and examine the relationship between FDI and performance at the firm level.


We unveil new facts about BRIC multinationals. BRIC multinationals are in the minority in their home countries, but they outperform domestic enterprises. Within the group of BRIC investors, those firms that invest in developing countries, that operate in joint ventures, or that have more than five foreign subsidiaries are in the minority, but they outperform those firms that select other FDI strategies.

Research limitations/implications

Our estimates document a positive and robust correlation between FDI and performance; however, the cross-sectional nature of our data does not permit a proper causality analysis.


Our work contributes to the International Economics literature on internationalization and firm performance as well as to the International Business literature on FDI from emerging economies. With respect to the former, we innovate by studying the relation between FDI strategies and firm performance. In relation to the latter, we innovate by introducing firm-level data and a cross-country approach that lets us illustrate the roles and features of FDI from BRIC countries.




We are grateful for the useful comments from the Editors and two anonymous Reviewers that have greatly improved the quality and readability of this chapter. We also thank participants to the AIB 2015 Annual Conference at Bocconi University and seminars at Bicocca University for insightful discussions on an earlier version of the chapter. Rajssa Mechelli provided valuable research assistance. Financial support from Bicocca University is gratefully acknowledged. All remaining errors are our own.


Gattai, V. and Natale, P. (2016), "New Facts about BRIC Multinationals: From Macro to Micro Evidence", The Challenge of Bric Multinationals (Progress in International Business Research, Vol. 11), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 61-92.



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