Chinese Foundations and the Challenge of ‘Going International’

China’s international cooperation strategies are gradually changing due to evolving views about the limits of its internationalisation approach, which has traditionally mainly focused on building governmental and business relationships. Intensified interactions with low-income countries in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative are perceived to benefit from an increased role for its domestic non-governmental organisations (NGOs). This article explores China’s initial steps in enabling the domestic NGO landscape to internationalise by looking at this development from an organisational capacity perspective. By assessing five key organisational characteristics of 36 Chinese foundations engaging in international cooperation, we find that the average organisational capacity for international cooperation is still limited but shows gradual improvement. While they all comply with government regulations in governance and several foundations have large budgets and capacity for domestic operations, our findings suggest that only a few currently mobilise substantial human and financial resources for their international activities.

Licence Information:

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence (CC BY), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original authors and source are credited and any modifications or adaptations are indicated.

Tan, L. and Huyse, H. (2021) 'Chinese Foundations and the Challenge of ‘Going International', IDS Bulletin 52.2: 121-138, DOI: 10.19088/1968-2021.124

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