Chinese-Japanese Relations in the Twenty-First Century: Complementarity and Conflict

By Marie Söderberg | Go to book overview

9

Japanese firms in China

What problems and difficulties are they facing?

Hu Xinxin

Japan has been one of the most important economic partners for the People's Republic of China since 1979, when China's economic reform and opening up started. By the end of 1999, the Chinese authorities had approved nearly 19,000 FDI projects from Japan, with a total contractual value of more than US$35 billion, of which, US$25 billion had been actually invested (Table 9.1).

Japanese firms in China are playing an important role in the Sino-Japan economic relationship. This is not only because Japan is one of the most important FDI (foreign direct investment) source countries for China, but also, as recent statistics prove, these Japanese firms have become the leading forces in China's exports to Japan.

According to questionnaire surveys by the Japan Bank of International Co-operation (JBIC), many Japanese firms consider China to be the most promising FDI destination over a medium and long-term period. However, firms that made earlier investments in China have not been very satisfied with the outcomes, particularly in terms of profitability and sales. The government's (Ministry of Finance of Japan, or MOF) statistics also indicated a sharp reduction in the FDI flow from Japan from 432 billion yen in 1995 to 84 billion yen in 1999.

This paper will focus on the problems and difficulties that Japanese firms are actually facing in China. Some Japanese organisations or institutions, such as the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), 1 JBIC 2 and the Japan-China Investment Promotion Organisation (JIPO) 3 have conducted general surveys on the issue. What I intend to do here, however, is to discuss this issue in detail and to provide my independent opinions from a Chinese researcher's point of view. To make my research more solid, I have conducted my own survey by interviewing Chinese and Japanese business persons involved in a dozen Japanese-funded firms in China. I then intend to compare the results of these interviews with my previous surveys conducted in earlier years, and discuss some successful cases.

This paper is organised into four sections. In the first section I will try to draw a rough picture of Japanese FDI and the general background of Japanese firms in China. The second section will discuss the problems and difficulties that Japanese firms are facing in China. The third section will illustrate a few successful cases, and finally, in the fourth section, I will discuss the subject further and make suggestions as the summary of this research.

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Chinese-Japanese Relations in the Twenty-First Century: Complementarity and Conflict
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables and Figures vii
  • Preface xi
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • Note on Names xv
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 9
  • 1 - Mirror for the Future or the History Card? 10
  • 2 - Sino-Japanese Relations in the Context of the Beijing-Tokyo- Washington Triangle 32
  • 3 - Engagement Japanese Style 52
  • 4 - Sino-Japanese Relations and Ballistic Missile Defence (Bmd) 69
  • 5 - The Taiwan Question 88
  • 6 - The Background and Trend of the Partnership 103
  • 7 - The Role of Oda in the Relationship 114
  • 8 - Economic Relations 130
  • 9 - Japanese Firms in China 154
  • 10 - Managing the Global-Local Dilemma 177
  • Index 195
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