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Follow the Giver: Is Chinese MNEs’ Investment in Africa Linked to Official Aid?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 May 2024

Xuanjin Chen
School of Economics and Management, Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
Majid Ghorbani
Strategy and Entrepreneurship, China Europe International Business School, Shanghai 201206, China
Zhenzhen Xie*
Business School, Sun Yat-Sen University, Shenzhen, China
Corresponding author: Zhenzhen Xie (


Does Chinese aid to African countries trigger Chinese foreign direct investment? Bridging the literature on the impact of foreign aid on foreign direct investment (FDI) and that on state ownership, we consider FDI by China's state-owned enterprises (SOEs) compared with that of its privately owned enterprises (POEs) and find FDI by the former is more likely to follow Chinese governmental aid to Africa. Borrowing from institutional theory, we posit that FDI by SOEs follows political imperatives while FDI by POEs pursues market motives. Using data from multiple sources on 3,760 Chinese FDI projects in Africa between 2001 and 2015, we find a correlation between SOE FDI and government aid than that of POEs; that aid has a greater impact on the probability of FDI when the policies of the host country and those of China are in sync, especially in the case of SOEs; and that in low-investment-risk countries the link between aid and investment is weakened, especially in the case of POEs. The results are robust and consistent across different measures and analyses. We contribute to the literature on the relationship between aid and FDI, as well as to that on varieties of capitalism.



中国对非洲国家的援助是否促进了中国企业对非洲的直接投资(FDI)?本文回顾了国际援助对外商直接投资的影响以及企业所有权方面相关文献,比较了中国国有企业和私营企业在非洲的投资情况。基于制度理论,我们认为国有企业在非投资倾向于遵循政治目标,而私营企业的投资则更多基于市场动机。通过对 2001 年至 2015 年间中国在非洲地区的 3760 个 FDI 项目的多数据源分析,我们发现国际援助与 FDI 投资之间的正相关关系在国有企业中更加显著,在国政策高度一致时援助对国有企业 FDI 的影更大。在低投资风险国家,援助与投资之间的正相关关系会弱,该效应对于私营企业来说更加显著。在不同测量和分析方法下以上结论均保持稳健。本研究对国际援助与 FDI 系研究和制度多样性方面的文献做出了贡献。

Copyright © The Author(s), 2024. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of International Association for Chinese Management Research

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