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Research project:  Chinese investment in the EU: motivations, strategies and impact

Chinese outward foreign investment has increased dramatically with the economic integration in the world since the 1990s. Although Europe is suffering from financial and economic crisis, it has become the fastest growing destination of Chinese outward foreign investment since 2008. This PhD research aims to explore the reasons why Chinese investors invest in the EU (especially during the European sovereign debt crisis) by examining the patterns of Chinese investment in the EU and looking into their impact on Sino-European relations. This study will apply a mixed methods approach, starting with secondary data collection to map current investment patterns, followed by case studies and interviews to examine the motivations of Chinese investment in the EU, as well as panel discussions to explore the impact on China-EU relations. A theoretical framework which combines insights from business studies on foreign investment, elite studies of Chinese politics and a neo-Gramscian inspired conceptual framework will be employed in this research, providing a comprehensive perspective which allows a unique combination of levels of analysis (from the individual via the firm and the national level to that of the global political economy and of international relations). The findings are expected to enable a better understanding of motivations underlying Chinese foreign investment in Europe, and thus to explain the trajectory of Sino-European economic and political relations.  

Education/Academic qualification

International Politics, Master, Renmin University of China

Sep 2010Jul 2012

International Relations, Bachelor, Beijing Normal University

Sep 2006Jul 2010


  • J Political Science
  • JA Political science (General)
  • JZ International relations
  • China-EU Relations
  • International Political Economy

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Yuan Ma is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

foreign investment Social Sciences
EU Social Sciences
debt crisis Social Sciences
political relations Social Sciences
Chief executive officer Business & Economics
Strategic decisions Business & Economics
Sensemaking Business & Economics
State-owned enterprises Business & Economics

Research Output 2014 2019

  • 2 Article
  • 1 Chapter
  • 1 Conference contribution
Strategic decisions
State-owned enterprises
Chief executive officer

Investimento externo direto chinês na União Europeia

Overbeek, H. W. & Ma, Y., 2018, A expansão econômica e geopolítica da China no século XXI: diferentes dimensões de um mesmo processo. Vadell, J. (ed.). Belo Horizonte: Editora PUC Minas, p. 73-101 29 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

Chinese foreign direct investment in the European Union: explaining changing patterns

Ma, Y. & Overbeek, H. W., 2015, In : Global Affairs. 1, 4-5, p. 441-454

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access

Neo-Gramscian Theoretical and Empirical Studies on European Integration: A Review and Analysis 新葛兰西主义关于欧洲一体化的理论与经验研究评析

Ma, Y., 2014, China and Europe in the Post-Crisis Era: Opportunities and Challenges 后危机时代的中国与欧洲:机遇与挑战. Song, X. & Lin, S. (eds.). Beijing 北京: China University of Political Science and Law Press 中国政法大学出版社, p. 1-35

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingConference contributionProfessional