Title: Chinese FDI strategy in Italy: the 'Marco Polo' effect

Authors: Carlo Pietrobelli; Roberta Rabellotti; Marco Sanfilippo

Addresses: Inter-American Development Bank, 1300 New York Avenue NW, Washington DC 20577, USA; CREI, Università Roma Tre, Via G. Chiabrera, 199 – 00145 Rome, Italy. ' Department of Economics and Quantitative Methods, Università del Piemonte Orientale, Via Perrone 18, 28100 Novara, Italy; Orkestra-Instituto Vasco de Competitividad, Mundaiz, 50 (Campus Universidad de Deusto), 20012 San Sebastián, Spain. ' Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute, Via delle Fontanelle, 19, 50014 – San Domenico di Fiesole, Firenze, Italy; UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Piazza SS. Annunziata 12, 50122 Florence, Italy

Abstract: This study investigates the motivations driving Chinese outward direct investment to Italy. The analysis is based on secondary sources and in-depth interviews with key informants and senior managers of Chinese affiliates in Italy. The evolution of the Chinese firms| pattern of entry in Italy confirms the model followed by Chinese firms in other European countries, but we obtain some additional interesting results. Chinese investments in Italy are increasingly targeting the acquisition of technological capabilities and of design skills and brands to tap local competences available in specialised manufacturing clusters in sectors such as automotives and home appliances. They try to link, leverage and learn from foreign acquisitions. The main industries of specialisation of Chinese OFDI in Italy reflect this approach and appear to be related to China|s strategy to increase the sophistication of its exports and to move away from standardised commodities and intermediate manufactures and components.

Keywords: China; foreign direct investment; Italy; FDI strategy; linkage; leverage; learning; exports; technological capabilities; design skills; brands; local competences; manufacturing clusters; automotive manufacturing; automobile industry; domestic appliances; foreign acquisitions; FDI motivations; Chinese FDI.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTLID.2011.044138

International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, 2011 Vol.4 No.4, pp.277 - 291

Received: 08 May 2021
Accepted: 12 May 2021

Published online: 09 Dec 2011 *

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