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Chinese foreign direct investment in R&D in Europe: A new model of R&D internationalization?

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  • Di Minin, Alberto
  • Zhang, Jieyin
  • Gammeltoft, Peter

Abstract

Along with their mounting economic might, emerging economies are becoming the object of ever closer analytical attention. Yet the phenomenon of international research and development (R&D) from multinationals headquartered there still remains neglected. The current study analyzes Chinese companies’ investment in R&D in Europe, focusing on three different aspects: technology exploration vs. technology exploitation as investment motive; locational strategies for R&D investments; and the dynamics of motives of overseas R&D units. The analysis proceeds to draw out differences between the R&D internationalization process of multinationals from developed economies and those from emerging economies. Evidence of Chinese R&D internationalization is provided through analyses of five cases of international R&D units set up by Chinese companies in Europe: ZTE Corporation, JAC Motors, Chang’an Motors, Hisense Group, and Hisun Group. Based on the analyses we find that the Chinese R&D units represent important differences from the conventional R&D internationalization process of developed-country multinationals. These differences come about when R&D internationalization is driven predominantly by learning rather than technological innovation, as the extant literature tends to assume. Chinese R&D units appear to evolve often from a strategy of pure technology exploration, over fusion of foreign technologies with R&D activities back home, into one of technology exploitation in foreign locations.

Suggested Citation

  • Di Minin, Alberto & Zhang, Jieyin & Gammeltoft, Peter, 2012. "Chinese foreign direct investment in R&D in Europe: A new model of R&D internationalization?," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 189-203.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eurman:v:30:y:2012:i:3:p:189-203
    DOI: 10.1016/j.emj.2012.03.004
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    Cited by:

    1. Alessia Amighini & Claudio Cozza & Elisa Giuliani & Roberta Rabellotti & Vittoria Scalera, 2015. "Multinational enterprises from emerging economies: what theories suggest, what evidence shows. A literature review," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 42(3), pages 343-370, September.
    2. Gonsa, Osvaldo, 2013. "A Study on the Relationship between Internationalisation and Competitiveness in Asian Companies: Cross Cultural Team’s Efficiency and their Role in Telecommunications Standardisation," Journal of Applied Leadership and Management, Hochschule Kempten - University of Applied Sciences, Professional School of Business & Technology, vol. 2, pages 1-16.
    3. Sanfilippo, Marco, 2013. "Investing abroad from the bottom of the productivity ladder : BRICS multinationals in Europe," BOFIT Discussion Papers 26/2013, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
    4. Sanfilippo, Marco, 2015. "FDI from emerging markets and the productivity gap—An analysis on affiliates of BRICS EMNEs in Europe," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 665-676.
    5. repec:spr:scient:v:113:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-017-2533-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Dachs, Bernhard, 2017. "Internationalisation of R&D: A Review of Drivers, Impacts, and new Lines of Research," MPRA Paper 83367, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Filippov, Sergey, 2012. "European investment promotion agencies vis-à-vis multinational companies from emerging economies: Comparative analysis of BRIC investor targeting," MERIT Working Papers 076, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    8. Alvandi , Keyvan & Chaminade , Cristina & Lv, Ping, 2013. "Commonalities and differences between production-related FDI (PFDI) and technology-related FDI (TFDI) in developed and emerging economies," Papers in Innovation Studies 2013/47, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    9. Andrea Elteto & Agnes Szunomar, 2015. "Ties of Visegrád countries with East Asia – trade and investment," IWE Working Papers 214, Institute for World Economics - Centre for Economic and Regional Studies- Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
    10. Françoise Hay & Christian Milelli, 2013. "The endless quest to strategic assets by Chinese firms through FDI:From Inward to Outward Flows," EconomiX Working Papers 2013-16, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.

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