The second annual survey of leading Chinese multinational enterprises (MNEs), conducted by the School of Management at Fudan University∗ and the Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment (VCC) at Columbia University in New York, released its results today, indicating that Chinese multinationals are continuing to grow rapidly on the world stage.

The survey draws primarily on data for the year 2007, although some data for 2008 are included as well. It identifies 18 leading outward investors and ranks them on the basis of their foreign assets. Its principal findings include the following. As of the end of 2007, the 18 large Chinese MNEs on the Fudan-VCC list had nearly USD 106 billion in overseas assets (table 1), employed 133,674 persons road and had USD 91 billion in foreign sales (annex table 1). The top three − CITIC Group, China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company and China State Construction Engineering Corporation − which together had foreign assets of USD 59 billion, accounted for nearly 56% of the foreign assets controlled by the 18 large multinationals. These are all state-owned enterprises (SOEs), as are 13 others among the remaining 15. SOEs continue to play a dominant role in the international expansion of Chinese firms. In comparison with last year’s list, which was based on 2006 data, the aggregate foreign assets and foreign sales of the 18 large multinationals on this year’s list increased by 34% and 16%, respectively, in 2007, while foreign employment fell by 4%.

The Chinese government, through its ‘Go global’ policy, has strongly encouraged the international expansion of Chinese MNEs since the beginning of this decade as a springboard to acquire strategic resources, expand into foreign markets, and reduce market constraints at home.1 From 2003 to 2008, China’s FDI outflows rose at an annual rate of 96% while global FDI grew by only 25%. These 18 – which are large but not necessarily the largest Chinese MNEs2 –have played an important role in that expansion, helping make China the third largest outward investor among emerging markets in 2007 in terms of FDI outflows and the seventh largest in terms of outward FDI (OFDI) stock.

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