FDI spillovers in the Chinese manufacturing sector: Evidence of firm heterogeneity

We use a new longitudinal data set of more than 15,000 Chinese manufacturing plants to show that the direct and indirect e§ects of foreign direct investment on measured firm level productivity depend on a number of firm specific features and institutional factors. We found that domestic firms engaged in a joint-venture with a foreign partner are on average more productive, as well as exporting plants and plants located in special economic zones. In addition, domestic firms benefit from horizontal spillovers from foreign firms on average. However, these spillovers depend on the structure and origin of ownership as well as on specific characteristics of the special economic zones. First, spillovers are less likely to occur from fully foreign owned firms than from joint-ventures. Second, spillovers from foreign direct investment originating from overseas Chinese (Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) are stronger than from the rest of the world. Third, spillovers are higher in the special economic zone aimed at attracting foreign capital to fasten the development of China's own high-tech industries.

Project ID
Filip Abraham
Jozef Konings
Veerle Slootmaekers