This chapter discusses the political economy that conditions and promotes the evolution of China’s home-country policies towards its own multinationals and examines debates within China about the pros and cons for Chinese firms to engage in transnational operations. Because of the nature of its political and economic system, China’s home-country policies emerged out of very special circumstances and were accompanied by controversies and continuous debates as to whether, why, how, where and for what purposes transnational operations should be conducted by Chinese enterprises, most of which are state-owned. The controversies and debates are as much about economics as about politics. For one thing, the role that the Chinese government plays in the economy predetermines state intervention in promoting or prohibiting the emergence and growth of China’s own multinational corporations. Policy debate is naturally a focal point of contention. For another, until 1992 controversies abounded as to whether and in what way transnational operations and Chinese investment overseas were compatible with China’s socialist planned economy with public ownership and how they could be incorporated into China’s national development strategy.
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