From China to the West: why manufacturing locates in developed countries

Alessandro Ancarani, Carmela Di Mauro, Yuan Virtanen, Weimu You*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


This article analyses the competitive priorities underlying manufacturing location initiatives in developed economies. Specifically, building on secondary data, we compare and contrast manufacturing backshoring from China by companies headquartered in developed economies (308 cases) and Chinese foreign direct investment to developed economies (155 cases). Results suggest that both types of initiatives share some common priorities, such as exploiting the ‘country of origin’ effect and innovation opportunities in developed countries. At the same time, results highlight differences that may be attributed to the home country of the firm. In particular, cost priorities appear to be more important for Chinese companies than for backshoring ones. Findings offer insight into why manufacturing in developed economies may expand as a result of both repatriations and of foreign direct investments from emerging economies such as China, and point to potential areas of policy intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalInternational Journal of Production Research
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1435-1449
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • backshoring
  • OFDI
  • manufacturing in high-cost environments
  • competitive priorities
  • location decision
  • China

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoHP: Humanitarian and societal logistics


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