Within the services sector, parastatals are a major driving force in many economies, particularly by providing other firms with essential services like telecommunication. Due to increased foreign direct investment and to the extension of trade agreements (including the harmonisation of national regulations on the services sectors) these firms shift from a national market to a transnational outlook. The project focuses on South African and Chinese (partially) state-owned firms in the banking and telecommunication sector. First, we identify the political economy, institutions and mechanisms within those sectors in South Africa and China, while keeping in mind the identification of political and economic motivations as well as possible complementarities. In doing so, we take a closer look at the different enterprises, their national collaborations and interactions, and their socio-economic impact on their societies (in particular on labour relations). Second, we focus on the interaction between South African and Chinese enterprises. The different kinds of interaction between the parastatals could be classified as direct interactions (e.g. with regard to investments) and/or interactions on the global level (e.g. through regulation processes).
The result of the project will be an interdisciplinary exchange between different research spaces. The role of (partially) state-owned firms will be analysed in the current national capitalist model, as well as in transnational cooperation. Therefore, we will exchange data and compare individual research results during research stays. Research will be made available via publications and presentations. This small project adds on the micro level and contributes in the understanding of firms as an actor in the Africa-Asia Interaction.