Chinese companies conquering the world: A descriptive analysis of the rapid rise of Chinese acquisitions




Chinese multinationals, emerging markets, mergers and acquisitions, internationalization, global expansion, outward foreign direct investment, entry mode, greenfield.


In this article, we study the global acquisition trends of Chinese companies. We look at the countries and sectors they are investing in and the factors driving those investments. We consider the inflexion points and the changes before and after the Global Financial Crisis. The focus of the paper is the evolution of mergers and acquisitions (M&A), but we also consider greenfield investments and overall outward foreign direct investments. To that end, we use longitudinal data from three sources: the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Standard & Poor’s Capital IQ, and Financial Times fDi Markets. We note that M&A activity was key for the rapid growth and the fast internationalization pace of Chinese companies. While M&A is the entry mode of choice for Chinese firms to approach the developed world (Europe and the U.S.), greenfields are more common for expansion in Asia and Africa. The paper also provides comparisons with data from other emerging markets and the U.S.


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Author Biographies

Lourdes S. Casanova, Cornell University. SC Johnson College of Business. Emerging Markets Institute

Senior Lecturer and Director Emerging Markets Institute, Cornell S.C. Johnson College of Busines, Cornell University, formerly at INSEAD, specializes in international business with focus on emerging markets multinationals. Awarded in 2014 and 2015 one of the 50 most influential Iberoamerican intellectuals and in 2017 one of the 30 most influential Iberoamerican women intellectuals by Esglobal. Faculty Fellow at the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future. Fulbright Scholar with Master degree from University of Southern California and PhD from University of Barcelona. Taught, directed executive programs at INSEAD for senior managers including Telefónica, BBVA and Cemex and Brazilian Confederation of Industries. Some of the latest publications

-       Co-author with P. Cornelius and S. Dutta: Entrepreneurship and the Finance of Innovation in Emerging Markets. Elsevier.

-       2017. Co-Author with A. Miroux: Emerging Market Multinationals Report and

-       2016: The China Surge.

-       Co-author with J. Kassum: The Political Economy of an Emerging Global Power: In Search of the Brazil Dream, Palgrave Macmillan 2014,

-       Author ‘Global Latinas: Latin America’s emerging multinationals’ Palgrave Macmillan 2009,

-       Co-author Innovalatino, Fostering Innovation in Latin America, Ariel 2011,

-       Articles in journals including Beijing Business Review, International Journal of Human Resource Management, Business and Politics and Foreign Affairs Latinoamérica.

-       Writer of an op-ed at Latin Trade and

-       Regular contributor to CNN en español

Member of Latin America Global Agenda Council and the Competitiveness in Latin America taskforce of World Economic Forum, B20 Task Force on ICT and Innovation in G20 summit, Los Cabos (2012), responsible at INSEAD of Goldman Sachs 10,000 women initiative. Board member of Boyce Tompson Institute, start-up Documenta, founding Board Member of the Societé des Amis du Chateau de Fontainebleau and member of the Advisory Council of the Tompkins Public Library. Founding board member Emerging Multinationals Research Network. Co-founder of the Ithaca Hub of World Economic Forum’ Global Shapers network.Visiting professor, Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley: Judge Business School, University of Cambridge and Latin American Centre, University of Oxford; University of Zurich, and Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona. Consultant Inter-American Development Bank

Anne Miroux, Cornell University

Faculty Fellow at the Emerging Markets Institute, S.C. Johnson School of Management at Cornell University and a former Director of the Division on technology and Logistics in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). She has over 30 years of experience in international trade and finance. She began her career in the United Nations Centre on Transnational Corporations in New York, and later joined UNCTAD where she specialized in developing country debt, foreign direct investment and transnational corporations, and technology and innovation policies. For several years she headed the Investment Analysis Branch in UNCTAD and directed the World Investment Reports (WIR), the United Nations flagship report on FDI and transnational corporations and served as the Editor of the UN Transnational Corporations Journal. She has led many technical assistance projects in developing countries on debt, FDI, and technology and innovation policies. She has published a number of papers and articles on debt and development; FDI and multinational companies in and from emerging and developing economies; and innovation.

She is the co-author of the Emerging Market Reports series published annually by the Emerging Market Institute at Cornell: 2016 “The China Surge”; 2017 “Emerging Multinationals in a Changing World”; 2018 “Emerging Markets Reshaping Globalisation”.

Until late 2015, Anne Miroux was also Head of the Secretariat of the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD). She is a board member of Emerging Multinationals Research Network and a member of the Advisory Board of the Technology and Management Center of the Department of International Development at Oxford University. She is also a member of the Board of NetExplo.

Anne Miroux has a Ph.D. in Economics from University of Paris I – Sorbonne; an MBA from HEC, Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales, and a diploma from IEP (Institut d'Etudes Politiques – Paris). She holds


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How to Cite

Casanova, Lourdes S., and Anne Miroux. 2019. “Chinese Companies Conquering the World: A Descriptive Analysis of the Rapid Rise of Chinese Acquisitions”. Journal of Evolutionary Studies in Business 4 (2):13-44.