American Society of Civil Engineers

Chinese Contractors in Africa: Home Government Support, Coordination Mechanisms, and Market Entry Strategies

by Chuan Chen, (corresponding author), (Lecturer, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, Univ. of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia E-mail: and Ryan J. Orr, (Executive Director, Collaboratory for Research on Global Projects, Stanford Univ., Stanford, CA 94305. E-mail:

Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, Vol. 135, No. 11, November 2009, pp. 1201-1210, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Section Heading: Organizational Issues
Abstract: Africa is a traditional overseas market for Chinese contractors. Since the launch of "going out’ national strategy in the new century, and with the support and control of the government and subordinate agencies, associations and banks, and innovative approach such as Angola Mode, Chinese contractors’ presence in the emerging African market continues to grow. Based on original empirical data collected through interview and questionnaire surveys, this paper analyzes the mechanisms the Chinese government has established to facilitate Chinese contractors’ entry into Africa and the perspectives of Chinese contractors about the African market in terms of opportunities and threats. Regression analysis based on existing datasets indicates that despite perceived opportunities and threats, Chinese contractors’ performance in Africa in terms of business revenue actually hinges upon the availability of construction capital. The study also reviews the market entry modes used by Chinese contractors, concluding that they prefer to establish a long term presence and opt to commit large resources. Overall, the paper summarizes evidence about the status and innovative approaches of Chinese contractors in penetrating the African construction market, and also characterizes the potential of the African construction market for Chinese contractors.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Construction companies
International factors
Business management