Podcast: China’s Offensive in Europe

Podcast: China’s Offensive in Europe

from Asia Unbound

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Europe and Eurasia


In this week’s Asia Unbound podcast I speak with Philippe Le Corre, visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, about his new book with Alain Sepulchre, China’s Offensive in Europe. Le Corre is a keen observer of the inroads that Chinese companies are making into the European continent through widespread merger and acquisitions of European firms. He describes Beijing’s push for Chinese companies not only to diversify their international holdings—as in the case of the state-owned enterprise ChemChina purchasing Pirelli, a well-known Italian tire-maker—but also to establish global brands of their own. In some cases, like that of the German manufacturer Putzmeister, flagging European companies acquired by Chinese ones can enjoy a new life by gaining greater access to the Chinese market. But many cross-cultural mergers are not as successful. Chinese companies face challenges in adapting to European business culture and standards, fulfilling their promises, and satisfying foreign consumers. European governments, themselves, struggle to convince an uneasy electorate worried about Chinese companies taking over familiar brands or local infrastructure. Listen below as Le Corre explores these issues and more through case studies of Chinese companies’ expanding economic interests in their neighborhood to the west.

Elizabeth C. Economy

C. V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies