Chinese Odi In France: Motives, Strategies, And Implications
Although outward direct investment (ODI) is still very much a developed country phenomenon (with industrial countries accounting for more than 75% of global flows), ODI from the "South" is gaining ground, with China ranking among the most active outward investors, together with, but well ahead of, India and Brazil. Today, although the bulk of Chinese investment abroad is still directed to neighboring Asian economies and to natural resource–rich African countries, a sizeable share of these outward investments is targeted at industrial economies, namely the US and the EU, raising concerns of a "Chinese challenge." Taking France as a case study, the paper seeks to determine whether these concerns are well or ill founded and the implications of this new state of play. The paper starts with an overview of Chinese ODI in France, with regards to function, sector, and mode of entry in particular. As a next step, it examines in detail the push and pull factors influencing Chinese investors' activities and assesses their performances as well as the possible impacts of their presence for the host as well as for the home economy. The paper shows that the concerns expressed about the presence of Chinese investors are wholly misplaced so far for a number of reasons. First, Chinese ODI is still extremely limited; second, Chinese investors can be shown to behave exactly like any other foreign investors, with market-seeking objectives prevailing over strategic asset-seeking motivations. Third, Chinese ODI may lead to win-win situations. In particular, French firms can be shown to be in a position to benefit from Chinese ODI either by discharging underperforming assets or by getting an access to the Chinese market. Finally, the paper examines France's alleged underperformance in terms of attractiveness to Chinese investors. It suggests that the apparent "French exception" should not be exaggerated and that it can be easily explained. However, country-specific characteristics may contribute to deter Chinese investors and need to be taken into account. In terms of policy recommendations, preserving the country's openness to foreign investment should stay on top of the priority list.
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Volume (Year): 01 (2012)
Issue (Month): 01 ()
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