We asked our panel of strategy experts to tell us how strongly they agree with this statement:

China is no longer the most attractive growth opportunity for Western multinationals.


Raw Responses

Responses weighted by panelists’ level of confidence

Panelist Vote Confidence Comments Profile & Vote History
Roberts, John

John Roberts

Stanford University
Neither Agree nor Disagree 2 Profile / Vote History
Florida, Richard

Richard Florida

University of Toronto
Agree 8 “From a purely economic point of view, China remains a huge, attractive market with booming cities and a rising middle class. But politically, it is becoming a more difficult place to do business. These political troubles have not yet tipped over. But American companies may increasingly come to perceive they are better off looking and doing business elsewhere.” Profile / Vote History
Gans, Joshua

Joshua Gans

University of Toronto
Agree 7 “Right now with China being the focus of a trade war, that is likely the case. But, in reality, it could only be a growth opportunity for so long.” Profile / Vote History
Brynjolfsson, Erik

Erik Brynjolfsson

Neither Agree nor Disagree 5 “China is an enormously attractive opportunity for businesses, but there are also many other growth opportunities, particularly when applying new technologies for digitization and AI.” Profile / Vote History
McGahan, Anita

Anita McGahan

University of Toronto
Neither Agree nor Disagree 8 “Whether China is the right growth opportunity for an MNC depends on the strategy of the MNC, the industry structure, the cost of investment, the prospective returns on that investment, and the purpose, character, and context for the growth goal in the first place. China is massively important. Whether a specific firm should seek growth in China depends on whether and how the firm engages.” Profile / Vote History
McAfee, R. Preston

R. Preston McAfee

Agree 6 “Given the size of its economy, China’s rates of growth have fallen. China’s self-favoritism limits opportunities. India is more attractive for many companies, looking like China 20 years ago but with better institutions.” Profile / Vote History
Stern, Scott

Scott Stern

Agree 3 “There are a large number of emerging markets including Africa, MENA, and Southeast Asia. China continues to grow but seems less a unique juggernaut.” Profile / Vote History
Tadelis, Steve

Steve Tadelis

University of California, Berkeley
Disagree 6 “The government’s ‘Made in China 2025’ initiative, together with its already powerful and growing tech industry, have China poised for continued strong growth. Moreover, with close to 1.5 billion people, the domestic market alone is fertile ground for much market-driven innovation.” Profile / Vote History
Holden, Richard

Richard Holden

University of New South Wales
Neither Agree nor Disagree 8 “Demand in China is clearly softening, but given secular stagnation in advanced economies, it is unclear what the attractive alternatives are.” Profile / Vote History
Arora, Ashish

Ashish Arora

Duke University
Agree 4 “Is the bloom off the rose? It appears so. China is a very large and growing market. But the demographic dividend is over, the middle-income trap may not be easy to evade, and its geopolitical ambitions make it a riskier proposition. Whether Western multinationals see it — is a whole different issue.” Profile / Vote History
Lyon, Tom

Tom Lyon

University of Michigan
Agree 7 “Wages in China have risen and so has competition from domestic firms. At the same time, growth in China is slowing and Trump’s trade war creates ongoing uncertainty for those thinking about investing in China. Vietnam is already drawing off low-wage jobs, and growth prospects in Africa are looking up.” Profile / Vote History
Van Reenen, John

John Van Reenen

Disagree 6 “Even at a reduced rate of growth and institutional problems, China is still relatively wealthy and a huge market.” Profile / Vote History
Henderson, Rebecca

Rebecca Henderson

Harvard University
Rebecca Henderson 5 “I fear the problem is that there is nowhere in the world that can be described as ‘a particularly attractive growth opportunity.’” Profile / Vote History
Moser, Petra

Petra Moser

New York University
Agree 7 “It’s just not that appealing to invest in a country where your competitors can reverse-engineer your technology and steal it, without you having any real recourse to IP protection. And the threat of a trade war doesn’t help. Together, these two threats create too much uncertainty and risk.” Profile / Vote History
Simcoe, Timothy

Timothy Simcoe

Boston University
Agree 7 “For companies already in China, its slowing growth rate, political and regulatory risks, and long-standing concerns over IP theft make it look worse at the margin. But for companies not in China (which rules out most ‘Western multinationals’), the opportunity remains impossible to ignore.” Profile / Vote History
Hochberg, Yael

Yael Hochberg

Rice University
Disagree 8 Profile / Vote History
Agarwal, Rajshree

Rajshree Agarwal

University of Maryland
Neither Agree nor Disagree 5 “It is not clear that China was ever the ‘most’ attractive opportunity across the board for all Western multinationals. It will remain a very attractive opportunity for some, but not all Western multinationals. It is all a question of where China fits into each firm’s business model, relative to alternative sourcing and selling options.” Profile / Vote History
Greenstein, Shane

Shane Greenstein

Harvard University
Agree 7 “It is possible to get access to inexpensive manufacturing facilities at tremendous scale, but selling within China poses many challenges.” Profile / Vote History
Nalebuff, Barry

Barry Nalebuff

Yale University
Agree 5 “I’m not sure it was ever the most attractive growth opportunity for Western multinationals. And, of course, it depends quite a bit on your industry. It would have been a great growth opportunity for Google absent censorship. It remains a good growth opportunity for Apple. Is it the most attractive growth opportunity for GM? Probably not.” Profile / Vote History
Rosenkopf, Lori

Lori Rosenkopf

University of Pennsylvania
Disagree 6 “While opportunities may be more constrained than before, partnerships will still provide critical access to this large market.” Profile / Vote History
Sorenson, Olav

Olav Sorenson

Yale University
Disagree 4 Profile / Vote History
Chatterji, Aaron

Aaron Chatterji

Duke University
Aaron Chatterji 5 Profile / Vote History