In 1978, when China reopened itself to the outside world, the country was modelled as a Soviet-style planned economy, in which foreign investments had no visible role in the country’s economic development. Restrictions on foreign investments were strict and driven by ideological, political and security considerations.

In the decades since, Beijing’s understanding of the role of foreign capital towards the development of China’s national economy has undergone a paradigm shift. Politically driven economic reforms, and the foreign investments that followed, propelled this third-world economy, previously disconnected with the industrialized world, to become the world’s second largest by 2010.

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