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The performance implications of outward foreign direct investment for Chinese firms

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posted on 27.02.2017, 16:00 by Fang Tao
The internationalisation of Chinese firms has attracted attention worldwide although most of Chinese MNEs are still in their early stage of internationalisation. Chinese firms internationalisation has unique characteristics due to their home country s unique political environment, culture and economic structure. This thesis aims to investigate the implications of both of short-term stock market performance and long-term operating performance of outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) by Chinese firms. Drawing on signalling theory and the institution-based view, the thesis firstly examines the extent of stock market reactions to the announcement of cross-border merger and acquisition (M&A) deals from a financial perspective, based on an event study of a sample of Chinese firms during the period 2000-2012. The findings indicate that Chinese firms cross-border M&As result in a positive stock market reaction. The shareholders of Chinese firms that acquire a target firm in a host country with a low level of political risk gain higher cumulative abnormal returns than those firms targeting companies in countries with a high level of political risk. However, the shareholders of Chinese state-owned enterprises experience lower abnormal returns compared with those of Chinese privately owned firms when engaging in cross-border M&A deals. The thesis further examines the impact of M&As on Chinese firms post-acquisition operating performance by integrating organisational learning theory with the institution-based view. The findings indicate that firms with serial cross-border M&As achieve better performance than those engaged in first-time cross-border M&As, and those with horizontal M&As perform better than those carrying out vertical M&As. The positive effects of acquisition experience and horizontal acquisitions on the post-acquisition performance of Chinese acquiring firms are reinforced by the institutional quality and language similarity of host countries. Finally, this thesis investigates from a management perspective how Chinese MNEs adopt different management strategies (e.g. expatriates and subsidiary autonomy) to respond to environmental challenges and improve the performance of overseas subsidiaries. Drawing on the resource dependence theory, this thesis examines the indirect effects of expatriates on subsidiary performance via subsidiary autonomy based on a survey sample of Chinese MNEs. The findings show that an increase in expatriates reduces the level of subsidiary autonomy and thus negatively affects subsidiary performance. This study also finds that the institutional quality of host countries reinforces the negative impact of expatriates on subsidiary autonomy, but reduces the importance of the latter on subsidiary performance.



  • Business and Economics


  • Business


© Fang Tao

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.