I Came, I Saw, I ... Adapted: An Empirical Study of Chinese Business Expansion in the U.S. and Its Legal and Policy Implications

Monday, May 4, 2015, 12:00–1:30 p.m.
SB1-5400 at UC Irvine, Merage School of Business

A Public Lecture by Ji Li


China’s economic expansion into the United States has generated intense debates and controversies. Some view it as posing a critical challenge to extant U.S. institutions; others see China as a stakeholder of the extant system and that the Chinese investors are by and large “playing our game.” However, theories and hypotheses on the subject abounding, little is yet known how exactly Chinese investors interact with U.S. institutions. Relying on the first large-scale survey of Chinese companies investing in the United States, this article fills the gap with an interdisciplinary study of the adaptation of Chinese investors and their interactions with the U.S. legal and regulatory systems. Applying a novel typology, it finds Chinese investors to be commercially driven and adaptive to the host country environment. The article further evaluates this general finding by analyzing three most-debated threats from China's business expansion in the United States: the threat to U.S. national security; the threat to major interests of certain social groups (using employment discrimination as an example), and the threat to free market capitalism. The analysis confirms the preliminary finding that Chinese investors are adaptive to U.S. institutions and their potential threats are limited. In light of the empirical evidence, policymakers should resist the temptation to hastily erect protective measures in response to the sharp rise of Chinese investments. Treated and regulated properly, Chinese investors may become major stakeholders of extant U.S. institutions and contribute to their long-term resilience.

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About the Speaker

Ji LiJi Li received his Ph.D. in political science from Northwestern University and his J.D. from Yale Law School. He joined Rutgers Law School-Newark in 2011 after practicing law for a few years at the New York office of an international law firm. Professor Li’s research and teaching interests include taxation, international and comparative law (with a focus on China), property, and empirical legal studies.



The Long Institute Lecture Series on Chinese Law, Business and Society

The Long Institute Lecture Series