What Happens When Corporate Ownership Shifts to China?: A Case Study on Rubber Production in Cameroon

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This article seeks to understand the evolution of corporate social responsibility (CSR) through two phases of privatisation: the acquisition of a Cameroonian state-owned public rubber company by a Singaporean firm, and the subsequent acquisition of the latter by a Chinese state-owned company. The investigation revealed that a number of unresolved problems, including uncompensated land, dispossession by the government, failure to fulfil a promise of vesting a proportion of the company's capital with employees and a history of unsatisfactory employment conditions, were passed on to two generations of multinational owners. Although there are preliminary indications that the Chinese investors may have a stronger interest in reforming and rejuvenating the company, from increasing production and efficiency to applying CSR standards, it remains to be seen whether the sector will bring greater benefits to local communities and employees given the entrenched nature of pre-existing shortcomings.

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