Inward FDI and local firms' political connections in emerging markets: Evidence from China

Meitong Dong, Pengcheng Ma*, Lin Cui

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Research Summary: Research on the spillover effects of foreign direct investment (FDI) into emerging markets has primarily focused on local firms' productivity or innovation outcomes while overlooking their nonmarket strategies. Based on the resource dependence theory, we propose that inward FDI has a U-shaped impact on local firms' political connections. This is because when FDI is at a low to medium level, its spillover benefits substitute for local firms' dependence on government resources. As FDI further increases, its competitive threats outweigh spillover benefits, driving local firms to a greater dependence on the government to neutralize the threats. This relationship is contingent on external and internal factors altering resource similarity between FDI and local government. Our analyses of Chinese listed firms support our predictions. Managerial Summary: This study delves into how firms in emerging markets respond to inward FDI, particularly focusing on the role of political connections as a nonmarket strategy. Our findings offer valuable insights for both local firms and governments, providing a holistic view of the opportunities and challenges associated with inward FDI. We advise local firms to adopt a balanced approach by integrating both market and nonmarket strategies to maximize benefits, as relying solely on political connections may not be the most effective way to address the challenges posed by inward FDI. Additionally, our research emphasizes the importance of evaluating the resources provided by inward FDI against those provided by local governments, as the similarity of these resources alters the role of inward FDI as perceived by local firms.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)312-349
    Number of pages38
    JournalGlobal Strategy Journal
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - May 2024


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