Spatial pattern of Chinese outward direct investment in the Belt and Road Initiative area
Lei ZHENG1,2,3,Zhigao LIU1,2,4,*()
1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, CAS, Beijing 100101, China 2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China 3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China 4. Collaborative Innovation Center for Geopolitical Setting of Southwest China and Borderland Development, Kunming 650500, China
The Vision and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road policy document was issued by the Chinese government on 28 March 2015. How to implement the overall national strategy becomes a major topic of theoretical discussion with much practical significance, namely, to promote the international competitiveness and upgrading of Chinese industries, and achieve common prosperity among countries in the Belt and Road Initiative area through Chinese outward direct investment (ODI). Existing literature on ODI originated largely from developed countries, and thus cannot satisfactorily explain the booming ODI from emerging countries such as China. Moreover, the research on Chinese foreign direct investment focused more on the natural resources and market factors in analyzing motivations and driving forces, mainly based on historical data. There is little discussion on large scale, national demand-oriented Chinese ODI strategy, for example, in the Belt and Road Initiative area. Against this background, this article investigates the spatial strategy of Chinese outward direct investment (ODI) in the Belt and Road Initiative area, using statistical data and results from fieldwork and interviews. It first develops a theoretical framework to investigate Chinese outward direct investment in the Belt and Road Initiative area based on a review of existing research on foreign direct investment. It then analyzes the basic characteristics of Chinese ODI in this region with regard to its spatial distribution and choice of sectors. Third, the article explores difficulties and challenges that Chinese enterprises will face when they implement the “going global” strategy. Finally, it investigates the spatially differentiated investment guiding strategy for Chinese ODI in the Belt and Road Initiative area.
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