Exploring the Expatriates of Chinese Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) in the Construction Sector in the Region of Africa: Self-Isolation or Integration?

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Chinese Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) constitute the largest group of MNEs from one single country currently involved in the African construction market, bringing nearly half a million expatriates to this continent. This situation calls for insights into exploring the experience of Chinese expatriates in Africa, given the critical contributions of these expatriates to construction projects in this region. Due to the characteristics of construction projects, the expatriates of Chinese MNEs are traditionally considered isolated from local communities and regions. However, this research aims to understand the actual situation of expatriates from the Chinese construction MNEs operating in Africa. In addressing this aim, the author examines cultural and institutional factors, Human Resource Management (HRM) practices impacting the expatriates. The study places a specific focus on the final stage of their expatriation: repatriation to the home country or becoming immigrants and staying in host country, especially after the COVID-19 and China lockdown situations. Data from 500 questionnaires and 25 semi-structured interviews were gathered from Chinese expatriates, government officers from China and African countries, and other relevant stakeholders. A key finding of the study reveals that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly influenced expatriates’ positive integration with local communities and even their decision to stay in the host country. Similarly, the findings shed light on how MNEs’ HRM practices has been underlined when discussing Chinese expatriates’ self-isolation and integration in Africa. The implications of the research findings are discussed with reference to policymaking, expatriate management and HRM practices within the contexts of China and Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2023
Event2023 Regional Studies Association Winter Conference: Cities and Regions of Tomorrow: Towards Better Regional Futures - The Cumberland, Great Cumberland Place, London, W1H 7DL, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 9 Nov 202310 Nov 2023


Conference2023 Regional Studies Association Winter Conference
Abbreviated titleRSA Winter Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute


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