Chinese multinationals on the New Silk Route: Managing political risk by branding the nation

Yan Zhang , Denise Tsang, David L. Fuschi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)
    89 Downloads (Pure)


    Though Chinese multinational enterprises (CMNEs) have brought investment and opportunities to countries along the Belt and Road Initiative, there has been scepticism regarding the content and context of their investment. On the one hand, infrastructural development contributes to GDP formation and enhances the efficiency of productive inputs where international trade enhances technology and export development, which jointly provides a path to economic growth. On the other hand, critical issues such as debt sustainability and national sovereignty among countries that have gone through the decolonization process mean that CMNEs need to grasp the implication of political risk when investing. This article focuses on South and Southeast Asia, where China has historical socio-economic relationship, and proposes a nation branding model combining tradition and modernity which can be the way forward for CMNEs to mitigate political risk in relation to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) investment. Nation branding of BRI could be seen as a continuity of China's unfinished business in globalization that has preceded the modern polity; nevertheless, there is a need to communicate a coherent and authentic message that reflects the reality of business operations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)291-303
    Number of pages13
    JournalThunderbird International Business Review
    Issue number3
    Early online date12 Mar 2020
    Publication statusPublished - May 2020

    Bibliographical note

    This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Zhang , Y, Tsang, D & Fuschi, DL 2020, 'Chinese multinationals on the New Silk Route: Managing political risk by branding the nation', Thunderbird International Business Review, vol. 62, no. 3, pp. 291-303, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

    Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


    • Chinese multinational enterprises
    • belt and road initiative
    • nation branding
    • political risk
    • south and Southeast Asia

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Business and International Management
    • Geography, Planning and Development
    • Political Science and International Relations


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