Extending Dunning's investment development path, this study examines the impact of human mobility, a neglected factor, on Chinese outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) using time-series analysis. Our findings show that the two-way mobility of highly skilled Chinese students and scholars significantly promotes Chinese outward FDI. In addition, Chinese outward FDI is also driven by domestic economic development, but substitutes exports. The findings have important policy and managerial implications. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.