The Dragon's Footprints: The Impact of Chinese Migration and Investment in the European Union

The Dragon's Footprints: The Impact of Chinese Migration and Investment in the European Union

Mona Chung, Bruno Mascitelli
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5787-6.ch014
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This chapter examines Chinese migration and investment into Europe and explores models of migration and investment by identifying the gap between the two. The chapter highlights the major characteristics of Chinese investment and migration into Europe by identifying and separating the investment from Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and that of private individuals. This triangulation provides scholars and policy makers with a unique scenario. The migration and investment literature has been conducted as two separate and parallel topics. A small number of studies investigate the relationship of the two as one inter-connected relationship. There is even less focus on Chinese migration and investment due to the fact that over the past decade it has been a fast-moving phenomenon because of the speed of Chinese economic development. In addition, China's different political and economic system and its unique state structure adds another layer of complexity for scholars.
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Literature on migration to Europe but a decade ago made scant mention of China as a source country yet more recently it has become mainstream King (2012). Chinese migration to all corners of the world is not a new phenomenon but its nexus with outward investment is. While many Chinese in this era of rapid economic development have followed outward investment to the African continent for reasons of access to resources, migration to Europe in parallel to its outward investment is a recent phenomenon. Chinese investment levels into Europe is still relatively low but increasing as is its migration. This combination of investment and migration is sure to redefine the European political, economic, cultural and societal landscape. What is different, which does not follow any preordained theories, is a relationship among migration of citizens, private investments and state investments. Migration investment theory in general only covers migrants and their private investment in the non-Chinese scenario.

During the global financial crisis and its European manifestation, Chinese outwards investment became significant and unmistakable. When previously Chinese investment may have been in alignment with the commercial presence of Chinese goods, the new migration and investment was high profile and buyouts of major international brand names and in some cases of strategic sectors such as automotive became common. The Chinese presence was as equal and strategic as any investment from the US or any other developed economy. Things in this regard had changed for good.

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