Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2020, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (11): 1849-1870.doi: 10.1007/s11442-020-1815-7

• Special Issue: Urbanization, Resources and Environment in Central Asia • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Evolutionary investment network and the emerging energy power in Central Asia: From the perspective of cross-border mergers and acquisitions

HE Ze1,2,3,4(), CHONG Zhaohui5, YANG Yu1,2,3,*(), ZHOU Yannan1,2,3, LIU Yi1,2,3   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling/Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3. Institute of Strategy Research of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Guangzhou 510070, China
    4. Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Utrecht University, Utrecht 3584CB, Netherlands
    5. Shantou University Business School, Shantou 515063, Guangdong, China
  • Received:2020-03-21 Accepted:2020-07-22 Online:2020-11-25 Published:2021-01-25
  • Contact: YANG Yu;
  • About author:He Ze (1992-), PhD Candidate, specialized in economic geography of energy. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    Priority Research of the CAS(XDA20040400);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41871118);National Natural Science Foundation of China(42022007);China Scholarship Council(201904910633)


Central Asia is emerging as an important pole of global economic and political power, thanks to its unique location at the heart of Eurasia and its abundance in energy reserves. This study explores the social power change in Central Asia from the perspective of cross-border mergers and acquisitions (M&A) by using the social network method. The main results are as follows: (1) The complexity of the energy M&A network has significantly decreased after the financial crisis in 2008. In the meantime, energy M&A became an important way to enhance energy power for buyer countries. Betweenness centrality is becoming the most significant factor affecting energy power, yet the effect of out-degree is weakening. (2) The community underwent multifaceted restructuring, which reflected the shift of energy power in Central Asia. Kazakhstan is the most powerful country in the energy sector in Central Asia. In addition, East Asian countries/regions, represented by China, are actively enhancing their energy power. (3) Different M&A modes reflect various M&A motivations of countries in the energy sector. In the future, more efforts should be made to promote the establishment of a pragmatic and efficient multilateral energy cooperation mechanism and strength the cooperation of the economy and energy finance when China participates in the energy market in Central Asia.

Key words: energy power, mergers and acquisitions, evolutionary characteristic, dynamic bargaining, Central Asia