Chinese State Capital and Global Infrastructure Development


Luce/ACLS Early Career Fellowships in China Studies – Long-Term


Kennedy School of Government

Named Award

Flexible named award


This research examines the evolving way Chinese state capital engages in global infrastructure development in response to the changing global political economy. Building on previous research about the internationalization of China’s state-dominated infrastructure industry from its origin in the 1970s to the Belt and Road Initiative era in the 2010s, this research probes the emerging trend in the recent years among major Chinese infrastructure companies to engage in public-private partnerships in overseas infrastructure development, driven by a new political economy of risk-sharing and an ambition of the Chinese state capital for global “commanding height.” Drawing from fieldwork in Asia and Africa, this research unpacks how risks of overseas investment are managed in China’s state capital system and its interaction with host countries; it re-opens common assumptions about the “patience” of Chinese state capital, and reveals the tensions and vulnerabilities arising from its participation in global capitalism.