Attracting Chinese FDI in Africa: The role of natural resources, market size and institutional quality

Shan Shan*, Zhibin Lin, Yulei Li, Yan Zeng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)
86 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of natural resources, market size and five major institutional factors (voice and accountability; political stability and absence of violence; regulatory quality; rule of law and control of corruption) on Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa. Design/methodology/approach: This study uses regression analysis on panel data across 22 countries for the period 2008-2014. Findings: Natural resources did not play a significant role in attracting Chinese investments, but market size did. Among the institutional factors, only voice and accountability had a significant and positive effect on attracting Chinese FDI; the effects of rule of law and control of corruption were not significant and political stability and regulatory quality had a significant and negative effect. Research limitations/implications: Chinese investment in Africa is only a recent phenomenon, and is growing rapidly; further studies should examine factors that are unique to the context such as bilateral political link. Practical implications: African countries that are struggling with improving their poor institutional quality in the short term could effectively attract Chinese investment by reducing investor psychic distance, e.g. establishing a closer political link with China. Nevertheless, in the long term, measures of improving institutional quality are important. Originality/value: This study reveals for the first time that what attracts Chinese investment is market size rather than natural resources, and different institutional factors of an African country show varying effects on attracting Chinese FDI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-153
Number of pages15
JournalCritical Perspectives on International Business
Issue number2-3
Early online date26 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2018


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