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Understanding the ‘Enigma’ of Chinese Firm Performance: Confucius and Beyond

  • Daniel Shapiro (a1) and Jing Li (a1)

McCarthy, Dolfsma, and Weitzel (2016) raise the important and interesting question of why what the authors refer to as Confucian acquirers, and in particular Chinese acquirers, tended to create value over the last decade relative to Western companies. The analysis by McCarthy et al. (2016), while restricted to an empirical examination of mergers and acquisitions, calls into question the general relevance and validity of standard, Western-based economic and strategic thinking, and calls for further research into the nature of Chinese and Confucian thought and the degree to which they contribute to our understanding of merger outcomes in China, and perhaps elsewhere. At the most general level, McCarthy et al. (2016) challenge us to consider the question of whether different conceptual foundations are necessary to understand the behaviour and performance of Chinese and other Asian firms. At the heart of this question is the issue of whether there are unique country effects, or group-of-country effects, that determine to a substantial degree firm performance, and if so, what is the nature of these effects?

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Corresponding author: Jing Li (
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