Cross-border acquisition activity by Chinese multinationals and domestic-productivity upgrading

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigate the impact of cross-border acquisition activity on the domestic productivity of Chinese multinationals. Chinese MNEs have engaged in cross-border acquisitions in an attempt to explore for new capabilities, technologies and management practices so as to enhance productivity and compete in increasingly competitive domestic markets. Empirical scholarship, however, has yet to establish that cross-border acquisition activity by emerging-market multinationals generally contributes to domestic-productivity upgrading, as learning from foreign-acquisition targets, transferring and assimilating this learning, and ultimately upgrading the productivity of home operations represents a challenging and complicated process. We accordingly apply and advance the literature on reverse-knowledge transfers and capability upgrading by first considering the relevance of cross-border acquisition activities on domestic productivity in an emerging-market context, and by second extending the literature’s understanding of the target-firm characteristics which abet domestic-productivity upgrading. Employing firm-level panel data based on 329 Chinese multinationals over the 2000–2010 period, we find outward cross-border acquisition activities generate increased domestic productivity. In addition, we find domestic-productivity upgrading to be larger when acquiring high-tech (versus low-tech) targets and that this effect is further enhanced when acquiring related (versus unrelated) targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)659-695
Number of pages37
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Cross-border acquisitions
  • Domestic productivity
  • Emerging markets
  • Learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Strategy and Management


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