DP 2023/1 Mapping PRC Companies in the Pacific

Author/s (editor/s):

Graeme Smith, Daria Impiombato, Tarcisius Kabutaulaka and Henryk Szadziewski

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Publication type:

Discussion paper

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The role of companies from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in shaping the development and the political economy of Pacific Island countries (PICs) has been the subject of increasing academic and media interest. Reflecting both the infrastructure needs of Pacific Island nations and the domestic politics of the PRC, China's construction companies have come to dominate the construction and real estate sectors of many PICs. Such has been the concentration of investment in the construction sector that as early as 2019 an investment guide published by China’s Ministry of Commerce (responsible for regulating and assisting PRC companies abroad) bluntly warned that 'homogenous' construction companies had saturated the market in Papua New Guinea (Smith 2019). Other researchers have noted that in many Pacific markets, PRC companies' main challenge is competition with each other, leading some companies to 'make lowball offers to win the bid and substantially increase the cost afterwards' (Zhang 2023a:96). PRC investments in the region have increased in volume and value, adding up to US$2.72 billion by the end of 2021 (MFA 24/5/2022).

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