Weiwei Chen

Key information

BA (CCIT, China), MSc in Development Studies (SOAS)
Email address
Thesis title
The Dynamics of Chinese Private OFDI in Ethiopia: A Comparison of Light Manufacturing Industry and Construction Materials Industry


Weiwei is a PhD candidate in Development Studies at SOAS.

Prior to her PhD at SOAS, she worked for the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) in Germany and the Chinese Embassy in the UK. Weiwei worked as the research assistant for the Principal Investigator, Prof. Carlos Oya in a 4-year international collaborative academic research project on ‘Chinese Firms and Employment Dynamics in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Comparative Analysis’, funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) and Economic Social Research Council (ESRC) (2015/19). She has been conducting fieldwork in both Angola and Ethiopia since 2015. Research undertaken so far has led to a deep understanding of the ecosystem and the way that Chinese firms operate in SSA.

Weiwei was affiliated with the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC) as the Chinese Investment Advisor between Oct 2017 and Sep 2018. Her work for the EIC included receiving high officials, delegates and potential investors (both Chinese and International); observation of the EIC One-Stop Service Station and Industry Park Developers in selected industrial parks; and exploring characteristics and investment trajectories of Chinese firms within and outside of industrial parks.
Weiwei was also the National Research Consultant of International Trade Center (ITC) for the Partnership for Investment and Growth in Africa and in the Pacific (PIGA) project during her fieldwork in Ethiopia (2018). Weiwei took charge of conducting surveys with a wide range of Chinese firms in the light manufacturing and the agro-processing sectors and producing reports for ITC headquarters in Geneva.

Weiwei completed her PhD fellowship at UNU-WIDER (Sep-Nov 2019) in Helinsky, Finland to work on ""The Political Economy of Chinese Investment in Ethiopia: A Case Study of the Eastern Industry Park"" (pending for publication).

Currently, she is doing a 15-month ESRC-funded project on “Learning to Manage the Factory Floor in Ethiopia: Skills, Work Cultures and Organisational Capabilities in Ethiopia’s Light Manufacturing” led by Prof Carlos Oya.

Research interests

Weiwei's academic interests include Chinese Small-Medium Enterprises' (SMEs) internationalisation, Chinese Private Foreign Direct Investment (OFDI) in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).


Contact Weiwei