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Historical ties and foreign direct investment: An exploratory study


  • Shige Makino

    (Department of Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong)

  • Eric W K Tsang

    (School of Management, University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, USA)


Recent research suggests that the distance between countries in terms of culture, institutions, geographic proximity, and economic development matters in the foreign direct investment (FDI) decisions made by firms. This study focuses on the historical ties between countries as an additional factor affecting such decisions. In particular, it examines three major historical factors that affect cross-country ties with Vietnam, namely, Chinese occupation and conflict, French colonization, and socialist ideology, and examines the ways in which these historical ties have influenced FDI. The database consists of 631 wholly owned subsidiaries and 1215 joint ventures formed in Vietnam by multinational enterprises from 35 countries and regions between 1989 and 1999. The results indicate that firms from Hong Kong, Taiwan, France, and former and current socialist countries tended to be early movers in Vietnam, whereas firms from Mainland China tended to be late movers. Using the example of Vietnam, this study clearly shows that historical ties can provide additional explanatory power regarding FDI decisions beyond the conventional distance variables.

Suggested Citation

  • Shige Makino & Eric W K Tsang, 2011. "Historical ties and foreign direct investment: An exploratory study," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 42(4), pages 545-557, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:jintbs:v:42:y:2011:i:4:p:545-557

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    3. Drogendijk, Rian & Martín Martín, Oscar, 2015. "Relevant dimensions and contextual weights of distance in international business decisions: Evidence from Spanish and Chinese outward FDI," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 133-147.
    4. Hong, Sungjin J. & Lee, Seung-Hyun, 2015. "Reducing cultural uncertainty through experience gained in the domestic market," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 428-438.
    5. Kedia, Ben L. & Bilgili, Tsvetomira V., 2015. "When history matters: The effect of historical ties on the relationship between institutional distance and shares acquired," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 921-934.
    6. repec:bpj:pepspp:v:23:y:2017:i:3:p:22:n:4 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Richardson, Christopher, 2014. "Firm internationalisation within the Muslim world," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 386-395.
    8. Lee, In Hyeock & Rugman, Alan M., 2012. "Firm-specific advantages, inward FDI origins, and performance of multinational enterprises," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 132-146.
    9. van Veen, Kees & Sahib, Padma Rao & Aangeenbrug, Evelien, 2014. "Where do international board members come from? Country-level antecedents of international board member selection in European boards," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 407-417.
    10. Jonas Eduardsen & Svetla Marinova, 2016. "Decision-makers' risk perception in the internationalisation of small and medium-sized firms," International Journal of Export Marketing, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 1(1), pages 4-26.
    11. repec:eee:iburev:v:27:y:2018:i:1:p:113-124 is not listed on IDEAS
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    13. Naveen Kumar Jain & Tanvi Kothari & Vikas Kumar, 2016. "Location Choice Research: Proposing New Agenda," Management International Review, Springer, vol. 56(3), pages 303-324, June.
    14. Zhu, Hong & Xia, Jun & Makino, Shige, 2015. "How do high-technology firms create value in international M&A? Integration, autonomy and cross-border contingencies," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 718-728.
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    16. Meschi, Pierre-Xavier & Phan, Thanh Tú & Wassmer, Ulrich, 2016. "Transactional and institutional alignment of entry modes in transition economies. A survival analysis of joint ventures and wholly owned subsidiaries in Vietnam," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 946-959.

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