The Impact of Business-Government Relationship on Location Choice by Korean Firms in China: A Comparative Case Study
Sung Yue Wang
Since China embarked on market-oriented reform in 1979, various kinds of economic zones have been set up to attract foreign direct investment (FDI). These economic zones often compete against each other for investment, offering better policies and creating more incentives. In most local economic zones, red tape is significantly reduced because of the establishment of local zone authorities with consolidated power to oversee FDI-related matters. Foreign invested enterprises (FIEs) need to deal with much less number of government agencies in these zones than outside these zones. But on the other hand, relationship with these zone authorities becomes crucial for FIEs targeting or operating in these zones. Prior research shows FIEs in China often make their location choices based on the preferential policies offered by different regions. But a neglected factor is that how the business-government relationship might affect foreign firms??location choice between these zones within the same locality. This paper studies the impact of the bilateral FIE-zone authority relationship on FIEs??location decisions. Drawing upon location literature and using data from case studies, the paper provides evidence on the impact of business-government relationship on two levels of location choice by Korean firms in China and advances propositions for future research.