This research theme fulfils my long-term empirical and policy interest in the role and performance of Asian firms in the global economy. Since my doctoral research, I have been very interested in the globalization of business firms from Asian newly industrialized economies. Applying the research insights from my theoretical work in the first two major themes described above, I have several completed and ongoing research projects that investigate these globalization processes and development outcomes of Asian firms.

In the first place, extensive field research into Hong Kong and Singaporean firms was completed for a NUS-funded project in 2000 (S$46,800 or US$26,000; RP960045) and culminated in my second monograph published in 2002 by Edward Elgar in its New Horizons in International Business Series. Further significant research impacts are expected after the eventual completion of two major projects funded by the National Science Foundation (USA) and the NUS Academic Research Fund. As a foreign collaborator, I am involved in the NSF-funded project on “Asian foreign investment in the US: A firm-level study of technology acquisition and transfer”. This 3-year project (2002-2004) is funded by the NSF for US$170,000 and coordinated by Professors Jessie Poon (Co-PI) and Alan MacPherson (Co-PI) at the State University of New York-Buffalo. 

More recently, I have been awarded a University Research Committee (URC) grant of S$160,858 (about US$90,000) to investigate into “Asian firms in the global economy” (R-109-000-050-112). As the Principal Investigator of this project, I am leading a team of three researchers to explain the successful globalization of top 50 firms each from South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. When completed, this project will yield major insights into the global success of leading firms from the Asian NIEs.

In a related way, I was offered the Outstanding Overseas Researcher Award by the Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China, in September 2003. Under the Award effective from October 2003 to October 2006, I am given a personal research grant of RMB$30,000 per year to the maximum of RMB$90,000 (US$10,000) to work on a project entitled “The Globalization of Mainland Chinese Firms”. I will be able to use the grant freely to conduct research activities in China and to visit the Chinese Academy of Sciences. This China-funded project will create good synergy with my main NUS-funded project on Asian firms in the global economy.

My accomplishments in this third research theme are principally divided into two specific aspects (see also Table 3). First, I have achieved a strong reputation as an authority on transnational corporations and foreign direct investment from particularly Hong Kong and Singapore. Apart from two major monographs on this topic and a long list of publications in leading geography and social science journals (see Publication), I have been regularly invited to special meetings, workshops, and conferences to present my work on Asian TNCs and FDI and to offer specific comments and policy suggestions. My consultancy clients include (1) the Division on Investment, Technology and Enterprise Development, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Geneva; (2) Samsung Electronics, South Korea; and (3) Trade and Development Board(now IE Singapore), Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore.

Second, a direct empirical outcome of my research on Asian firms in the global economy has been concerned with the changing organization and globalization of ethnic Chinese family firms from East and Southeast Asia. Together with my former colleague, Dr. Kris Olds (now at the University of Wisconsin, Madison), we have successfully developed an innovative perspective to examine the global dimensions of Chinese business/family firms beyond the existing literature. My distinctive contribution is to show how Chinese family firms are changing and adapting to new global standards of corporate finance and governance and professional management. This research has led to the following publications:

1. One single-authored monograph published by Routledge in 2004 and one co-edited book published by Macmillan in 2000

2. Three significant publications in Tier 1 journals in 1999 (Environment and Planning D, Economy and Society, and International Journal of Urban and Regional Research)

3. Five papers in Tier 2 journals in 2000 (Review of International Political Economy, International Sociology, Family Business Review, The Professional Geographer, and Journal of Asian Business).

My sabbatical leave during AY2002/2003 also allowed me to complete a single-authored monograph entitled Chinese Capitalism in a Global Era published in November 2003 by London-based Routledge, a well-known publisher in the social sciences, in its Advances in International Political Economy Series.

As an internationally recognized expert in ethnic Chinese business firms and Chinese capitalism, I have been regularly invited to present research findings and papers on Chinese business/capitalism in East and Southeast Asia. My findings and views on this topic have also appeared in such leading international presses as The Financial Times, the CNBC Far Eastern Economic Review Live, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Asian Wall Street Journal, and other regional newspapers and magazines. My home institution, the National University of Singapore, has also put my research on Chinese business on the NUS Research Gallery available on the NUS Homepage.

Department of Geography
National University of Singapore
1 Arts Link, Singapore 117570
Office: (65) 874-6810; Fax: (65) 777-3091
Email: HenryYeung@nus.edu.sg; Homepage: http://courses.nus.edu.sg/course/geoywc/henry.htm