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金融研究  2022, Vol. 500 Issue (2): 40-60    
  本期目录 | 过刊浏览 | 高级检索 |
肖立晟, 徐子桐, 范小云
中国社科院世界经济与政治研究所,北京 100732;
南开大学金融学院,天津 300350
Mainland China's Inward and Outward Foreign Direct Investment Stock:Evidence from Tax Havens and Round-Tripping Investment
XIAO Lisheng, XU Zitong, FAN Xiaoyun
Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences;
School of Finance, Nankai University
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摘要 本文梳理了现有文献对离岸金融中心导致的直接投资头寸统计偏差进行修正的方法,详细比较了直接投资头寸数据集的优劣差异,并以CDIS宏观数据集为基础,引入Orbis微观企业数据库作为重要补充,对直接投资的动机按避税目的和境外上市目的进行区分,以此估算我国的IFDI和OFDI存量。结果表明:(1)估算后,来自离岸金融中心的IFDI调减1.1万亿美元,其中超过80%是出于避税目的进行的返程投资;(2)考虑VIE架构境外上市企业的影响后,返程投资占比增长至近37%,规模约1万亿美元,其中VIE架构境外上市企业贡献了16%;(3)我国对外投资存在经过“避税天堂”进行中转的现象,其中最终投向英属维尔京群岛的OFDI存量约占1/4,是我国实际OFDI的最主要投向地。
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关键词:  IFDI存量  OFDI存量  避税天堂  返程投资    
Summary:  Foreign direct investment (FDI) in mainland China has grown rapidly in recent years. According to data released by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, mainland China's inward (IFDI) and outward FDI (OFDI) stocks comprised more than 50% and 25% of mainland China's overseas liabilities and assets, respectively. However, the current statistics only cover the bilateral direct investment announced by statistical agencies and do not include direct investments transshipped through offshore financial centers or returned as round-tripping investments. Direct investments related to the offshore market will distort the current account statistics in international investment positions. Accurate accounting and measurement of mainland China's overseas IFDI and OFDI will help to study issues such as capital outflows and wealth inequality, in addition to investigating mainland China's current account imbalances and intertemporal optimization.
We infer two characteristics of rapid investment growth. First, more than 70% of mainland China's IFDI and OFDI positions come from or flow to tax havens, such as Hong Kong, the Cayman Islands, and the British Virgin Islands. Second, the ultimate sources of FDI funds from some offshore financial centers, in addition to developed economies such as Europe, the United States, Japan, and South Korea, are round-tripping investments from mainland China. That is, funds flow out of mainland China as OFDI and finally return to mainland China as IFDI instead of actual international investments.
These two structural characteristics lead to two issues. On the one hand, the current statistical principles are based on a “residence” perspective rather than the “domicile” perspectiveAvdjiev et al. (2018) denote “Domicile” as a permanent residence in consolidate group-level, usually the place of ultimate origin and permanent place where a corporate group's headquarters is located. of actual capital flows and show differences in their direct investment statistics. While the former facilitates the measurement of direct cross-border transactions between economies and has been used in international practice for many years, this measurement is unable to reflect the true flow of investments because the role of offshore financial centers in overseas investments has become increasingly prominent.
On the other hand, direct investments transshipped through offshore financial centers do not directly serve the local real economy. They are a means for companies to evade taxation, seek overseas financing, and even transfer assets overseas, which can easily cause national tax losses and capital flight. Moreover, the accumulation of offshore assets represents the rapid expansion of high wealth inequality.
However, while the domicile perspective in censuses helps correctly understand the actual stock of IFDI and OFDI in mainland China, valid data for reference are lacking because of statistical limitations. First, we find discrepancies between the IFDI and OFDI data collected by different agencies with no unified benchmark. Second, many economies, including mainland China, do not provide statistical data for the ultimate investment sources. Only a few OECD economies provide these data, such as the United States and the European Union. Third, large mainland Chinese Internet companies usually use a variable interest entity (VIE) structure for overseas listings, which facilitates the common phenomenon of round-tripping investments or capital appreciation in FDI. However, the available data cannot measure this phenomenon, which has not yet been analyzed in detail. Therefore, we review the literature on the methods for correcting the statistical bias from direct investment positions caused by offshore financial centers and compare different official statistical data sets for direct investment positions in detail. We then introduce the Orbis database as an important supplement based on the Coordinated Direct Investment Survey (CDIS) data set from the International Monetary Fund to measure mainland China's real IFDI and OFDI stock from the domicile perspective. Considering the motives for direct investment according to tax avoidance and overseas listing via VIE structures, respectively, we find that:(1) By adjusting FDI for tax avoidance purposes, IFDI from offshore financial centers was reduced, but more than 80% were round-tripping investments. In contrast, other major economies do not experience this obvious round-tripping investment phenomenon.(2) After considering the impact of overseas listed investments via the VIE structure, the proportion of round-tripping investments increases to nearly 37%, with a magnitude of about US $1 trillion, of which US $167.7 billion is contributed by overseas listed companies with a VIE structure. Among the top 20 counterparties of mainland China's IFDI, the proportion of offshore financial centers drops sharply from 70% to 27%. (3) The adjustment of mainland China's OFDI stock is based on mirror data. After adopting the domicile perspective, mainland China's OFDI stock is US $1.4 trillion, which is 10% higher than the CDIS value from the residence perspective.
In general, we find that investment flows to tax havens are reduced, while the flows to real economies increase, which reveals that foreign investments are transferred through tax havens. This is more obvious in mainland China than in other major economies. In particular, among the tax havens, the British Virgin Islands are the most important destination of mainland China's OFDI, accounting for about a quarter of ultimate OFDI stock. This is mainly because the British Virgin Islands are the most important place for natural person shareholders to retain capital in offshore companies or trusts.
Keywords:  IFDI Stock    OFDI Stock    Tax Haven    Round-Tripping Investment
JEL分类号:  F21   F23   F30  
基金资助: * 本文感谢国家社科基金重大项目(16ZDA031、17ZDA074),国家社科基金重点项目(14AZD032),国家自然科学基金青年科学基金项目(71703173),金融四十人论坛(CF40)重点课题的资助。感谢匿名审稿人的宝贵意见,文责自负。
通讯作者:  徐子桐,博士研究生,南开大学金融学院,   
作者简介:  肖立晟,经济学博士,副研究员,中国社科院世界经济与政治研究所,
肖立晟, 徐子桐, 范小云. 估算中国的IFDI和OFDI——来自“避税天堂”与返程投资的证据[J]. 金融研究, 2022, 500(2): 40-60.
XIAO Lisheng, XU Zitong, FAN Xiaoyun. Mainland China's Inward and Outward Foreign Direct Investment Stock:Evidence from Tax Havens and Round-Tripping Investment. Journal of Financial Research, 2022, 500(2): 40-60.
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