The transnational investment promotion community between Italy and China: an example of post Washington consensus neoliberalism


  • Tu Lan Department of Geography, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA
  • Christian Sellar Department of Public Policy Leadership, University of Mississippi, University, MS, USA
  • Shuang Cheng Department of Teaching Chinese as Foreign Language, China University of Petroleum, Qingdao Economic and Technological Development Zone, Shandong, China


Since investment promotion practices have been a hallmark of the neoliberalizing global economy, how these practices changed after the 2008 economic crisis becomes a critical question for the viability of neoliberalism. This article studies the role of an Italian investment promotion community (IPC) in Shanghai in promoting transnational investments between Italy and China. It is based on 12 semi-structured interviews and trade and investment data collected between 2013 and 2014 as well as individual authors’ longer term research in both countries. There are two main findings. First, the Italian IPC in Shanghai is better organized with more functions than the similar communities in Central and Eastern Europe before the crisis. Second, there have been emerging practices of investment promotion catering to the bi-directional investment flows between Italy and China. The central theoretical contribution is that the Italian IPC in Shanghai signals the tension between continuity and change in neoliberalism since 2008.