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  • Author: Hongying Wang
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: In recent years, the world has seen rapid growth in China’s financial reach beyond its borders. Following the announcement of a “going out” strategy at the turn of the century, many Chinese enterprises have ventured to invest and operate abroad. After three decades as primarily a recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI), China has now emerged as a major FDI-originating country as well. Much of China’s foreign aid is closely entangled with its outgoing FDI, and it has also been rising. Since 2013, the Chinese government has been pushing for a new One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, aiming to connect China with countries along the ancient Silk Road and a new Maritime Silk Road via infrastructure investment. In addition, since 2009, China has actively promoted the internationalization of its currency, the renminbi (RMB). There has been a great deal of anxiety about the motivations behind China’s going out policy and its possible international consequences. Many view it as an expression of China’s international ambition and a strategy that threatens the existing international order; however, that is not the whole story. An equally important but often less understood issue is the role of China’s domestic politics and political economy in shaping its new activism in foreign financial policy. Moreover, it is unclear how successful the going out policy is. The complexity of China’s going out policy was the topic for a recent round table discussion hosted by the Centre for International Governance Innovation and the Foreign Policy Institute at the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC.[1] Participants discussed a number of issues around two broad themes: the impact of domestic political economy on China’s foreign economic policy and the challenges for China’s external financial strategy — in particular, its OBOR initiative.
  • Topic: Markets, Political Economy, Monetary Policy, Infrastructure, Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Markets
  • Political Geography: China
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: China, the world's leading exporter of electronic products, faces a fundamental dilemma. It is the largest and fastest-growing market for semiconductors, the core component of those electronics products. Yet, at least 80 percent of the semiconductors used in China's electronics products must be imported. As a result, China's trade deficit in semiconductors has more than doubled since 2005 and now exceeds the huge amount it spends on crude oil imports. To correct this unsustainable imbalance, China's new strategy to upgrade its semiconductor industry seeks to move from catching up to forging ahead in semiconductors. The strategy calls for simultaneously strengthening advanced manufacturing and innovation capabilities in China's integrated circuit (IC) design industry and its domestic IC fabrication, primarily through foundry services. Drawing on policy documents and interviews with China-based industry experts, this study takes a close look at the objectives, strategy, and implementation policies of China's new push in semiconductors and examines what this implies for China's prospects in this industry. The study shows that China's new policy resorts to private equity investment rather than subsidy as the tool of industrial policy. The government participates in equity investment and claims it will do so without intervening in management decisions. This policy is expected to reduce the cost of investment funds for a selected group of firms, which is to form a "national team" in the semiconductor industry. China's new policy to upgrade its semiconductor industry through innovation does not represent a radical break with its deeply embedded statist tradition. Within these boundaries, however, the study detects important changes in the direction of a bottom-up, market-led approach to industrial policy. In response to the rising complexity and uncertainty of today's semiconductor industry, the government seems more open to experimentation with new approaches to investment finance and flexible, bottom-up policy implementation, based on multilayered industrial dialogues with private firms. China's policies to forge ahead in semiconductors, thus, provide an interesting example of its current efforts to move from investment-driven catching up to an innovation-driven development model.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Oil, Science and Technology, Financial Markets
  • Political Geography: China