Illiberal Effects of Chinese Foreign Direct Investment

April 30, 2024

The Biden administration maintains that China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and the power to do so. One part of China’s economic statecraft toolkit involves state-directed investments through high profile projects in the Belt and Road Initiative which are funded by loans through Chinese development banks. But the role and impact of Chinese companies that provide equity funding for foreign direct investment (FDI) often receive less attention. Does Chinese FDI have illiberal effects on recipient countries. And is this goal part of China’s economic statecraft and foreign policy strategy.

To address these questions and more, host Bonnie Glaser is joined by Dr. Jan Knoerich. He is the author on a chapter of Chinese FDI on the recent Oxford publication “Rising Power, Limited Influence”, a collection of essays on the effects of Chinese investment in Europe. Dr. Knoerich is a senior lecturer on the Chinese economy for the Lau China Institute at King’s College in London. He is an expert on the Chinese economy, FDI, and international investment law and policy.

Episode Highlights

[01:38] Evolution of Chinese Foreign Investment Strategies

[04:48] Chinese Firms Undertaking Foreign Direct Investment

[09:16] Impacts of Chinese FDI: Five Dimensions 

[18:175] Reasons Why Chinese Firms are Viewed with Suspicion

[21:06] Impacts of Chinese FDI Projects in Europe

[24:59] Evidence of Chinese FDI Exerting Political Influence