Foreign direct investment, regional geographical and market conditions, and regional development: a panel study on China

Author name: 
Mei Wen

This paper uses regional panel data to investigate the mechanism of how FDI has contributed to China’s regional development through quantifying regional marketization level. It is found that FDI inflow generates a demonstration effect in identifying regional market conditions for investment in fixed assets and hence affects industrial location. In addition, its effects on regional export and regional income growth varied across east, central and west China since the second half of the 1990s, depending on FDI-orientation in different regions. In east China, geographical advantage in export attracts FDI inflow and FDI promotes export. In addition, rise of FDI-GDP ratio increases regional share in industrial value added in east China. These effects contribute positively to regional income growth in east China although there is a direct crowding out effect between FDI and domestic investment (as input) in growth. In contrast, the negative impact of FDI inflow in central China on regional export orientation weakens its contribution to regional income growth. Furthermore, contribution of improvement of market mechanism to regional development is evidenced in attracting FDI, in promoting export and directly contributing to regional income growth.

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