The growth of Chinese multinational enterprises (MNE) has stimulated great interest in their outward foreign direct investment (FDI) strategies, particularly among academics in business and management studies. To date, however, serious methodological shortcomings plague empirical studies in these disciplines. Specifically, the vital issue of how Chinese MNEs use and route FDI via tax havens and offshore financial centres is not adequately dealt with. These practices have created large geographical, industrial composition and volume biases in Chinese outward FDI data. Using a sample of 100 Chinese MNEs, we illustrate how the use of tax havens and offshore financial centres has created these biases, and examine the implications for understanding Chinese MNE activity.
Sutherland, D., & Anderson, J. (2015). The pitfalls of using foreign direct investment data to measure Chinese multinational enterprise activity. China Quarterly, 221, 21-48. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0305741014001490