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Return migrants and international knowledge flows: China and the UK

  • Start date: 01 July 2011
  • End date: 30 June 2012

This project aims to fill a major gap in research and policy which has mainly focused on foreign direct investment and trade-related international knowledge flows. However, the rise of return migrants has challenged this traditional dominant focus. Drawing on knowledge-based perspective and embeddedness theory, this research goes beyond the existing literature by examining the impact of return migrants on international knowledge spillovers and innovation of local Chinese firms and multinational enterprises (MNEs).

The key findings show that Chinese return migrants with socio-cultural embeddededness who possess advanced technology and new ideas act as a new channel for international knowledge diffusion and that there are reverse knowledge flows from local Chinese firms to foreign firms that operate in China. The research will make theoretical contributions and provide new insights into the new phenomenon of return migrants. The outcomes of the proposed project will also be highly relevant to both policy makers and practitioners and will have strategic managerial implications.