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A review of the internationalization of Chinese enterprises


This article reviews the scholarly research on the internationalization of Chinese enterprises (ICE) through bibliometric citation analysis. We do so through a data visualization technique and analysis of 206 articles which are authored by 382 scholars in 72 different journals published between 2003 and 2016. The results reveal four research streams in the context of ICE: (1) testing traditional FDI theory, (2) location choice, (3) entry mode choice, and (4) drivers and motivations of internationalization. While international business (IB) journals, such as the Journal of World Business, the Journal of International Business Studies, and International Business Review, have taken a lead role in pushing the ICE literature stream forward, geographically focused general management journals, such as the Asia Pacific Journal of Management and Management & Organization Review, have also made a singular contribution. The impact of perspective, in terms of author and institution affiliation, on the literature set is also examined. Finally, issues related to data, methodological rigor and theoretical underpinnings are highlighted. To advance the ICE literature, we proposed a holistic framework of drivers and motivations of Chinese outward FDI and present some promising future research areas.

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  1. 1.

    Associated abbreviation such as MNCs and MNEs were also included in searches.

  2. 2.

    Including Special Autonomous Regions such as Hong Kong, but not including Taiwan.

  3. 3.

    Total is above 100% as articles in IB and management are collectively exhaustive.

  4. 4.

    For reference, we also include the impact these papers have had on academic literature as a whole (TGC and TGC/t).


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Correspondence to Ilan Alon.

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Alon, I., Anderson, J., Munim, Z.H. et al. A review of the internationalization of Chinese enterprises. Asia Pac J Manag 35, 573–605 (2018).

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  • Bibliometric analysis
  • Outward FDI
  • Internationalization
  • Literature review
  • Citation map
  • China
  • Emerging markets multinationals (EMMs)
  • Meta-analysis
  • Dragon multinationals