SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Weiwei Chen

BA (CCIT, China) MSc in Development Studies (SOAS)
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Weiwei Chen
Weiwei Chen
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Thesis title:
(Working title): The Dynamics of Chinese Private Outward Foreign Direct Investment in Ethiopia: A Comparison of Light Manufacturing Industry and Construction Material Industry
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Weiwei's academic interests include Chinese Small-Medium Enterprises' (SME) internationalization, Chinese Migrant Entrepreneurs in Africa and Chinese Private Overseas Foreign Direct Investment (OFDI) in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Prior to her PhD at SOAS, she worked for the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) in Germany and the Chinese Embassy in the UK. Weiwei has been working as a research assistant for the Principal Investigator, Dr Carlos Oya in a 3-year international collaborative academic research project titled ‘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). 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.

Currently, Weiwei is working for the Partnership for Investment and Growth in Africa and in the Pacific (PIGA) project. PIGA is a partnership between DFID, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), the China-Africa Development Fund (CADFund) and the International Trade Centre (ITC).  Weiwei takes charge of conducting surveys for a wide range of Chinese firms in the light manufacturing and the agro-processing sectors.

Weiwei is also affiliated with the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC). Her work for the EIC includes receiving High Officials, Delegates and Investors (both Chinese and International); observation of the EIC One-Stop Service Station and Industry Park Developers in different industrial parks; and exploring characteristics and investment trajectories of Chinese firms within and outside of industrial parks.

PhD Research

My research will look into the nature and dynamics of Chinese private OFDI in Ethiopia’s manufacturing industry. By taking the light manufacturing industry and construction material industry for comparison, why Chinese private firms are investing in Ethiopia and to what extent do the investment trajectories of Chinese SMEs in these two sectors differ and why will be explored.