The upsurge of the outward direct investment (ODI) made by the Chinese firms in recent few years is one of main concerns among the academic researchers and policy consultants targeting emerging market economies. In this paper, the focus for analysis is the internationalization and ODI initiated by Chinese private-owned enterprises (POEs). Starting with a check of key factors that shape the general environment for Chinese enterprises' ODI and internationalization, the main theme of the paper is to assess conventional western theories on firm's internationalization compared with the reality found amongst Chinese POEs. The conclusion is that the conventional western theories do not satisfactorily explain the realities found in China. An alternative framework is suggested, the SIL model, as a more convincing explanation for the ODI and internationalization of the Chinese POEs. The SIL model is a revised version of John Dunning's eclectic paradigm taking into account the Chinese POE's experience. It accounts for the way in which the POEs focus on a market seeking orientation in the early stages of "going out".