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Do China's 'National Team' Business Groups Undertake Strategic-Asset-Seeking OFDI?

Sutherland, D.



Purpose – This paper aims to explore the contribution of China's largest business groups to China's outward foreign direct investment (OFDI), looking particularly at the question of whether they contribute to strategic-asset-seeking OFDI. Design/methodology/approach – It uses national-level data and business group OFDI data to explore the sectors from which OFDI originates and destinations to which it is sent. From this conclusions are drawn as to the types of investments being made. Findings – In the national context strategic-asset-seeking OFDI from China has been rather limited to date. Instead, OFDI expansion still appears more closely linked to China's expansion as a trading nation with a natural resource deficit. Strategic-asset-seeking OFDI when it does take place, moreover, is orchestrated to a large extent through large state controlled business groups, as is much other OFDI. Research limitations/implications – A limitation of this research is the reliance on official data and the assumed simplification that most strategic-asset-seeking OFDI is concentrated in the manufacturing industries. Practical implications – More attention should be paid to the role of these select business groups as they play a significant part in China's OFDI. Originality/value – There is a growing presumption that much of China's OFDI is strategic-asset-seeking in nature and that new theories are required to explain this trend. Many firm-level studies, however, rely upon just a few high-profile but unrepresentative cases. This paper redresses this imbalance. It also shows that China's largest trial business groups have played an important role in her OFDI to date.


Sutherland, D. (2009). Do China's 'National Team' Business Groups Undertake Strategic-Asset-Seeking OFDI?. Chinese Management Studies, 3(1), 11-24.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2009
Deposit Date Oct 21, 2011
Journal Chinese Management Studies
Print ISSN 1750-614X
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 3
Issue 1
Pages 11-24
Keywords Assets, Business policy, China, Direct investment, International investments.
Public URL