Scenario analysis 2022 : potential political risks facing foreign investors in the PRC

Katainen, R. (2002-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Since the beginning of the economic reforms in 1978, the People's Republic of China (PRC) has attracted continuous interest from foreign investors, both in the form of foreign direct investment (FDI) and international trade, making the PRC the second largest host of FDI in the world. Despite occasional declines in foreign investment, foreign investors remain very interested in the long-term prospects for doing business in the country. The PRC's phenominal economic growth, large consumer market, the accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and the government's commitment to open markets, economic reforms, and restructuring of the economy are amongst the factors that continue to attract foreign investment and trade. Despite the huge market potential and strong desire by foreign investors to do business in The PRC, the track record of foreign companies and investments in the country have at best been mixed. While some foreign investors have reaped large profits, others have failed to meet their performance targets. Foreign investors have faced a number of problems that are not market or trade related, but associated with economic, political and social trends and developments, including corruption, nepotism, crime, poor infrastructure, a depleted banking system, inefficient legal system, unemployment and poverty. Therefore, it is not surprising that many foreign investors are asking themselves whether the benefits of doing business in the PRC are worth the risks. In an increasingly uncertain and instable international trade and investment environment political risk assessment and management have become essential components of any profitable foreign investment strategy. Consequently, numerous political risk-rating agencies and a large number of both qualitative and quantitative risk assessment methods have emerged over the years. There is, however, neither general consensus regarding the definition of political risk nor a comprehensively systematic method of conducting political risk assessment. The definitions of political risk include a wide variety of indicators, ranging from governmental actions to all non-market developments. The number of methods available for political risk analysis range from informal, unsystematic assessments by a few individuals to formal, systematic, and sophisticated risk analysis models. There are, however, some similarities. The main objective of political risk analyses is to describe, explain, and forecast political conditions and events that affect the interests of foreign investors operating abroad or planning to enter a foreign market. In addition, political risk analyses attempt to forecast losses, and recommend means of managing the risk, avoiding the losses, and seizing the opportunities. Scenario planning is one of the qualitative methods used to analyse political risk. Scenario planning, however, differs from most other approaches as it does not try to accurately predict what will happen in the future or to provide the right tool for foreseeing the future developments, but to offer a range of possible futures. The underlying assumption is that the future cannot be forecast or predicted with certainty, but that the very process of thinking about the future and exploring the implications of possible future scenarios may have a profound impact on foreign investment and trade. Scenario planning is a method that provides insightful information necessary to understand, anticipate and respond to change and uncertainty in the future PRC. The development of four 20-year scenarios in this study demonstrates that the prospects for foreign investment can be both positive and negative. When the economy continues to grow strongly, and the government is able to maintain a stable environment and successfully implement the necessary changes foreign investors are expected to reap the desired benefits. However, if the problems facing the PRC at the moment further deteriorate foreign investors could expect increased risks, and the possibility of failure.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Vanaf die begin van die ekonomiese transformasie in 1978, het die Volksrepubliek van Sjina voortdurende belangstelling van buitelandse beleggers geniet. Hierdie belangstelling was gemanifesteer in die vorm van direkte buitelandse belegging asook internasionale handel. Sjina het so aanloklik vir buitelandse beleggers geword, dat dit tans die wêreld se tweede grootste ontvanger van buitelandse belegging is, en beleggers stel veral belang in die lang termyn moontlikhede van besigheid doen in die land. Die Volksrepubliek van Sjina se merkwaardige ekonomiese groei, groot verbruikersmark, toetreding tot die Wêreld Handels Organisasie, en die regering se verbintenis aan die ontwikkeling van 'n oop ekonomie, ekonomiese transformasie en die herstrukturering van die ekonomie as sulks, is sommige van die faktore wat toenemend buitelandse belegging en handel aanlok. Ten spyte van die groot verbruikersmark potensiaal en die sterk begeerte van buitelandse beleggers om besigheid te doen in die Volksrepubliek van Sjina, is die ervarings van buitelandse maatskappye tot dusver gemeng. Alhoewel sommige buitelandse beleggers groot wins gemaak het, het ander minder sukses ervaar. Buitelandse beleggers word ook gekonfronteer met baie probleme wat nie noodwendig met die mark of handel gepaard gaan nie. Hierdie probleme word geassosieer met ekonomiese, politieke en sosiale gebeure en faktore insluitend korrupsie, misdaad, nepotisme, swak infrastruktuur, 'n ledige bank sisteem, 'n ondoeltreffende regssisteem, werkloosheid en armoede. Baie buitelandse beleggers betwyfel dus moontlik die vraag of besigheid doen in die Volksrepubliek van Sjina tog meer voordele inhou as risiko. In 'n wêreld waar internasionale handel en belegging met onsekerheid en onstabiliteit gepaard gaan, het die aspekte van politieke risiko skadebepaling en -bestuur belangrike komponente van enige winsgewende buitelandse belegging strategie geword. Gevolglik het verskeie politieke risiko-analise agentskappe asook 'n verskeie risiko-analise metodes van beide kwantitatiewe en kwalitatiewe aard hul verskyning gemaak. Ten spyte van die bogenoemde is daar nog steeds geen veralgemeende konsensus oor die definisie van politieke risiko, of 'n oorsigtelik sistematiese metode van politieke risiko-skatting onderneem nie. Die definisies van politieke risiko sluit in 'n groot verskeidenheid van indikatore wat wissel van regeringaksies tot mark-onverwante gebeure. Die verskeidendheid van metodologië wat gebruik word in politieke risiko-analise wissel van informeel, onsistematiese skattings, tot formele, sistematiese en gesofistikeerde risiko-analise modelle. Die primêre doel van politieke risiko-analise is om te beskryf en te verduidelik, en ook om politieke omstandighede en gebeurtenisse wat die belangstelling van buitelandse beleggers affekteer te voorspel. Addisioneel beoog politieke risiko-analise om ook die moontlikheid van verlies te voorspel en om 'n strategie vir die bestuur van die risiko aan te beveel, om sodoende verlies so ver moontlik te vermy asook om moontlike geleenthede aan te gryp. Senariobeplanning is een van die kwalitiatiewe metodes wat gebruik kan word in die analise van politieke risiko. Senariobeplanning verskil van ander benaderings in die sin dat dit nie akkurate voorspellings vir die toekoms as sulks maak nie, maar eerder 'n verskeidenheid van moontlike toekomstige omstandighede weergee. Die ontwikkeling van vier 20-jaar senarios vir die Volksrepubliek van Sjina in hierdie studie illustreer hoe die uitsigte vir buitelandse belegging positief sowel as negatief kan wees. Indien die Sjinese ekonomie verder groei en die regering in staat is om 'n stabiele omgewing in stand te hou asook die nodige veranderings te implimenteer, kan buitelandse beleggers verwag om beoogde voordele van buitelandse belegging te ervaar. Maar as die probleme wat die Volksrepubliek van Sjina op die oomblik ervaar voortduur en lof verswak, kan buitelandse beleggers verhoogde risiko sowel as die moontlikheid van mislukkings verwag.

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