Macquarie University
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Internationalization motives and risk attitudes: a comparative study of Chinese mining SOEs and NSOEs

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posted on 2022-03-28, 02:39 authored by Monica Ren
China has experienced consistent economic growth since the instigation of its ‘open-door’ policies in 1978, which aimed to reform the domestic industrial and economic structure and bring China more in line with advanced economies that typically consume large quantities of minerals and energy. The outcome of these policies is that China is now both the largest user and one of the most important suppliers of foreign direct investment (FDI). However, despite considerable research into the foreign direct investment undertaken by Chinese multinational enterprises, our understanding of how ownership influences the internationalization strategies of Chinese firms is limited. This research focused on State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and Non-State-Owned Enterprises (NSOEs) from China’s mining sector, a significant contributor to China’s outward foreign direct investment (OFDI). Five key issues were explored, (i) why do Chinese mining SOEs and NSOEs engage in OFDI - to acquire assets or exploit assets, (ii) what are Chinese mining SOEs and NSOEs’ motivations to conduct OFDI overseas, (iii) how the type of ownership influences its attitude towards risk, (vi) why the type of ownership influences its attitude towards risk, and, (v) How do the CEO/ top executive influence Chinese mining SOEs and NSOEs’ internationalization strategies? The exploratory, multiple-case study methodology adopted examined three SOEs and three NSOEs all selected from the sub-mining industries within China’s mining sector. Personal interviews with CEOs and senior managers utilized open-ended questions focusing on each firm’s motivations and attitudes towards risk in regard to their internationalization. The findings reveal that a mining firm’s ownership type affects its internationalization strategies and results in ‘domestic comparative ownership advantages/disadvantages’ (DCOA/DCOD). Chinese mining SOEs internationalize to further exploit DCOA, while mining NSOEs internationalize to both redress their DCOD and exploit their limited DCOA. The cross-case analysis indicated that SOEs and NSOEs have different attitudes towards the risks of OFDI. SOEs are more likely to engage in paradoxically risky behaviour, while NSOEs are more likely to adopt a more conservative risk attitude. These attitudes are influenced by the characteristics of each firm’s CEO. The thesis extends the internationalization literature by identifying potential qualifications and consistencies with existing paradigms. It highlights the importance of incorporating firm ownership types when evaluating Chinese firm internationalization. Finally, it provides theoretical and practical guidelines about the strategies and negotiation skills required to deal with Chinese mining SOEs and NSOEs.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction -- Chapter 2. Chinese OFDI and mining SOEs & NSOEs -- Chapter 3. EMNEs’ OFDI & Chinese firms’ internationalization -- Chapter 4. Research methodology and data collection -- Chapter 5. Individual case stusy firms -- Chapter 6. Discussion and key findings -- Chapter 7. Conclusing remarks.


Bibliography: 232-276 pages "2013 A thesis submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor Philosophy Department of Marketing and Management"

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Marketing and Management

Department, Centre or School

Department of Marketing and Management

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Robert Jack

Additional Supervisor 1

Richard Dunford


Copyright Monica Ren 2013. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (xix, 286 pages) illustrations, maps, graphs, charts

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