Chinese Companies Investing in Europe: Modern Conquerors or Strategic Partners?

Davide Sonzogni

Abstract


As the Year of the Dragon unfolds, Chinese companies continue to nurture their ambitious plans to expand into Europe supported by the Chinese government (Anderlini, 2011). These modern conquerors can contribute to reshape global trade and investment flows in the coming years (Miller, 2011), which has caused controversial reactions in the European Union (EU) (Voss & Clegg, 2011).

On the one hand, as Chinese banks and investment funds are state-controlled, concerns have been raised about the real motives underlying their investment. In fact, what today seems to be a commercially motivated investment strategy might be leveraged in the future to pursue political goals. Moreover, the EU does not have a central investment review system similar to those of other developed countries such as USA, Australia, or Japan, which can prevent it from losing its industrial capabilities and preserve its technological leadership. In other words, the EU, as a whole, has a lower sensitivity and control over national-security issues than USA and other Western developed economies (Miller, 2011). However, potential and actual local conflicts with the national interest of host countries represent concrete barriers to Chinese expansion (Shi, Milelli, & Hay, 2010).


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