Exploring the Outflow of FDI from the Developing Economies: Case Studies from China, India and South Africa

IERI Working Paper 2010-007
Angathevar Baskaran, Ju Liu, and Mammo Muchie

Whenever people think of FDI flows, the traditional assumption is that the investment flows from MNCs in the developed economies to either other developed economies and/or to the developing world. Now, a new trend has emerged owing to the process of globalisation. That is, FDI from the emerging and developing economies such as China, India, South Africa and Brazil is flowing to both developed and developing economies. There is more flexibility of movement of capital and knowledge which does not conform to hitherto held assumptions that FDI flows in a particular pattern to particular locations, that is, largely from the developed economies to the developing economies. This new trend needs to be captured both empirically and conceptually. One work we have been doing is exploring the new phenomenon of R&D related FDI flow into the emerging economies such as India, China and Brazil (Baskaran and Muchie, 2008). It is interesting that knowledge that is assumed often to be retained in the home parent company (usually in a developed country) is now open to movement to the to other parts of the world where there is a very strong pool of concentration of talent and skills such as India and China. Similarly, companies from the developing world now appear to be looking for strategic presence in other countries - both developed and developing economies. We explore the factors driving this outward flow of FDI from developing economies and the shape and nature of this flow. Further more, the research will examine the implications of this trend -- whether the FDI itself is changing because of this new trend and in what way this is taking place in reality. For this, we employ case studies of companies with external involvement from selected economies -- China, India and South Africa.

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