Professor Adam Cross of International Business School Suzhou at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University has been selected to receive the 2017 Decade Award of the Journal of International Business Studies, one of the world’s leading business studies journals and the premiere journal in its field.

The award, sponsored by Palgrave Macmillan, is designed to recognise the most influential paper published in JIBS 10 years previously. It will be presented to Professor Cross and his co-authors at the 2017 Academy of International Business conference in Dubai.

‘The determinants of Chinese outward foreign direct investment’, originally published in JIBS in 2007, has since had over 2,000 citations and has become one of the authoritative studies on the internationalisation of Chinese companies.

The award’s selection committee called the paper one of the “pioneering empirical studies” of its kind, noting that it provides “a truly comprehensive treatment of Chinese investment abroad making it a landmark study in understanding outward foreign direct investment.”

“I am extremely honoured to receive this award,” said Professor Cross, “and I will be proud to represent XJTLU at the AIB conference, as our current research continues to investigate hot topics in international business studies."

The selection process for the JIBS Decade Award considers not only the number of citations but also the quality. Only papers with a significant number of citations in leading business journals make the final selection. The top five papers are then reviewed by a selection committee of experts to determine which has had the most significant impact in the field of international business studies over a 10-year period.

Adam Cross, professor of international business and associate dean for learning and teaching at IBSS, has co-edited three books and contributed to more than 35 book chapters and scholarly papers on the internationalisation of Asian multinational firms, the cross-border licensing and management of intellectual property, and the institutional environment for international business, with China, India and Japan providing the setting for much of his research.

In 2007, the year of the paper’s original publication, XJTLU was a newly-established university and Professor Cross held a position as senior lecturer in international business at the University of Leeds in the UK. His appointment at IBSS in 2013 coincided with the development of XJTLU and its growing stature as an international university with teaching staff who are leaders in their fields.

Professor Cross is modest about his and his co-authors’ achievements in 2007, claiming that they had first-mover advantage in what later turned into a very important research area in international business studies.

“We were very fortunate to get exclusive access to a firm-level data set on Chinese outward foreign direct investment, which was unusual at that time,” he said. “As it was the first time systematic research had been done in this area, anyone who subsequently wrote an article on this topic was almost obliged to cite us.”

He also praises the contributions of his co-authors, noting that the first author Peter Buckley is one of the top international business academics in the world and one of the key scholars to establish theories about why and how firms internationalise. Their 2007 paper tested these theories in relation to China, finding that special conditions applied to Chinese outward foreign direct investment.

“At the time, it was assumed that most Chinese investment was determined by the need to acquire natural resources,” Professor Cross explained. “However, many of the established theories about internationalisation that developed from studies of western companies were being found to be inapplicable to Asian companies in general and to Chinese companies in particular, for various cultural, institutional, and economic reasons."

“Our paper looked at how the location and political characteristics of countries influenced the magnitude and direction of Chinese investment in the 1980s and 1990s. Our key finding was that, because of the privileged access to capital that many Chinese companies enjoyed at that time, not least because of their state-owned status, and because of their distinct sources of competitive advantage, their attitude to investment and location risk was different to that generally observed for western companies.”

The paper is available to read on the website of the Journal of International Business Studies.

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