Claire Farrugia | Critical Sociology
This article contributes to our understanding of Chinese corporate expansion into developed economies by using Australia as a case study of how, in the 2010s, Chinese firms began transiting from government-driven resource investment to entrepreneurial expansion in new industries and markets. We contextualize this process by demonstrating how changing market demand and institutional evolutions at home and in the host country created new motivations for Chinese investors. In particular, the decline of active government control in China over the overseas operations of Chinese firms and the more business-oriented regulatory regime in Australia empowered local subsidiaries of Chinese firms to become more entrepreneurial and explorative in their attempts to compensate for their lack of competitiveness and weak organizational capabilities. Consequently, Chinese firms brought their domestic experience and modus operandi to the Australian host market and collectively adapted and deployed dynamic capabilities such as the use of network linkages, experiential learning and corporate reconfiguration. We find that this transfer of capabilities was facilitated by the co-evolution of the Chinese and Australian institutional and market environments and has maintained Australia’s position as one of the major recipient countries of Chinese outbound investment, opening the Australian economy to ongoing expansion and disruption.