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Mapping Chinese Mining Investment in Latin America: Politics or Market?*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 March 2012

Ruben Gonzalez-Vicente
University of Cambridge. Email:


Analyses of Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) sometimes question the investment criteria of Chinese firms, suggesting that market rules are not fundamental but secondary to political and geostrategic concerns. Questioning the apolitical nature of markets, the present article uses the internationalization of China's mining industry as a case study to ascertain the criteria that guide Chinese FDI. It first examines quantitative data from 2000 to 2010 which suggests that Chinese mining investment in Latin America and worldwide gravitates towards liberal economies. Second, by focusing on the projects of Chinese mining firms in Peru, the article illustrates how China's overseas mineral quest is best explained by probing into the integrated strategies of individual mining firms which seek to capitalize their comparative advantage in accessing Chinese markets and the political momentum of the “Going Out” strategy.

Copyright © The China Quarterly 2012

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