Por qué los Chinos de Ultramar Dominan el Sector Exportador Chino

Desde el inicio de la década de 1990, China ha sido el país que ha recibido más inversión extranjera directa (IED), con excepción de Estados Unidos. De este vasto influjo de capital, los chinos de ultramar (de Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macao y el Asia sudoriental) han aportado la mayor parte. Las inversiones de Hong Kong y Macao representaron el 70% de la IED de China a inicio de los noventa; desde entonces, su participación ha bajado, pero todavía se mantiene en un 50% de la IED total.

El hecho de que China reciba tanto capital de los expatriados ha generado envidia a nivel mundial. Los funcionarios hindúes se lamentan porque sus compatriotas que viven en ultramar no cuentan con la riqueza ni se inclinan a favor de invertir en casa. Los economistas y los observadores celebran la disponibilidad de canales de capital, know-how y marketing que permitió que China se convirtiera --en un corto periodo-- en la base manufacturera y el generador de exportaciones de Asia.

La prodigiosa loa de este flujo de IED de expatriados, sin embargo, no permite ver sus fallas. Sí, las empresas que cuentan con inversión de expatriados producen muchas de las exportaciones chinas, pero con frecuencia lo hacen arrebatando el control de los negocios exportadores de las manos de los chinos nativos. Son dos los cálculos que lo demuestran. Uno es el cociente exportaciones / PIB, que pasó de 15% en 1990 a 20% en 1999, un crecimiento de 5%. El otro es la participación que las exportaciones de compañías extranjeras tienen en las exportaciones totales chinas, la cual aumentó de 15% a casi 40% durante el mismo periodo. Así, quizá las firmas extranjeras generen exportaciones para China, pero también dejan una gran rebanada del pie de las exportaciones fuera del alcance de los empresarios nativos chinos.

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