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Canadian firms in China: home and host country factors Wang, Baoling

Abstract

This thesis examines Canadian FDI (foreign direct investment) in China from 1978 to 2006 in the context of globalization and with a focus on the challenges faced by Canadian firms when doing business in China. Building on John Dunning's 'eclectic model' of FDI and Kobrin’s ‘bargaining’ approach, this study explores the relative importance of home country (Canadian) and host country (Chinese) factors in explaining outcomes for Canadian firms in China in the mining, manufacturing and service sectors. Using interview data collected from Canadian high-level management personnel working in these sectors during 2005 the study argues that it has been largely the host country factors that have been at work in causing difficulties for Canadian companies in China. These include issues such as Chinese government regulations and institutions, cultural differences between Canada and China, as well as market and business environment impediments in China. On the other hand, home country factors, particularly the small size of Canadian firms in China, have also played an important part in affecting the operations of Canadian firms there. The empirical analysis of the mining, manufacturing and service sectors revealed that Canadian firms in China are not a homogenous group and their experience and challenges can only be understood in the context of the particular sector that they are engaged in. In particular, Canadian firms in the mining sector have been more subject to pressures from the Chinese state, while firms in the manufacturing sector have been subject more to factors surrounding the Chinese market and business environment. Firms in the service sector have fallen in between, and have been subject to both factors such as state regulation and local market and business conditions. The survey analysis of some Canadian successful firms in China also suggests that the fate of Canadian firms does not hinge solely on cultural dynamics associated with either home or host country or regulatory issues, but also on the very real efforts that individual companies make to understand local conditions, and to become accustomed and to prosper in China.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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