China’s Outward Direct Investment

On 1 March 2012 Professor Chen Jianfu presented a seminar entitled China’s Outward Direct Investment in Context: From ‘Open Door’ to ‘Going Out’ at La Trobe University. The seminar was jointly organised by the Centre for China Studies, the Confucius Institute and the La Trobe Law School. Professor Chen is recognised as a leading international authority on Chinese law and was recently appointed as a “1000-Plan Scholar” under the National Thousand Talents Plan, China’s highest level program to source top talent from around the globe.

This seminar was the third presentation in the China Development Seminar Series which was launched by the Centre for China Studies mid-2011. The seminar series aims to provide a constructive platform for scholars from La Trobe University and beyond to share ideas, knowledge and experience, to encourage interdisciplinary academic dialogue and to assist with the development of links between scholars who share common research interests related to China.

Professor Chen said: “There has been considerable debate in Australia, Europe, the US, Japan and other countries in recent years over the nature and implications of China’s outward direct investment (ODI) around the world...The debate has, however, suffered ‘from too much speculation and too few facts’.”

Professor Chen shared his thoughts on general trends and motivations within the evolving policy and legal framework for China’s outward direct investment (ODI) over the last 30 years. Professor Chen said there remains some uncertainties regarding China’s ODI, but “one thing is clear – we will see much more ODI from China, whether we like it or not, and that is largely decided by the market”.

The seminar attracted about thirty scholars and students from across all faculties. This led to many interesting questions being raised, informed by differing perspectives, which resulted in many engaging and in-depth discussions.