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Megan Bowman, George Gilligan and Justin O'Brien

China is at the heart of the world’s economy, and it is emerging as a crucial investment player in almost all global markets. This chapter examines China’s trade and investment patterns through a longitudinal lens. Specifically, it analyzes data on foreign direct investment (inward and outward) in the context of China’s Five-Year Plans as an under-utilized prism through which to view trade and investment from a Chinese national perspective. This approach discusses China’s traditions of external investment and how China has become a modern global investment force by following its historical traditions of external investment.