Although China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, foreigners working there say the protection of intellectual property remains a concern.
"There's a well-articulated set of intellectual property guidelines and laws, but there hasn't been consistent enforcement of those laws," said Bill Russo, a Beijing-based consultant with Booz & Co.
Auto analysts say the Volvo acquisition will help Geely gain expertise in vehicle development -- an area where China's fledgling carmakers are all weak. Geely has only been making cars since 1998, while expertise in vehicle development is built over five-year product cycles.
"It's like you can go to medical school and be a straight-A student, but until you've been a doctor for 10 years, you're not going to be that good at it," Russo said.