Drawing on the entry mode (EM) literature and the strategic tripod framework, we examine whether firm performance is influenced by its outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) mode, controlling other firm-, industry- and institution-specific factors. It is found that employing OFDI does not improve an exporting firm’s performance. This is not surprising as anecdotal evidence shows that many Chinese firms with OFDI have been making loss in the host country. This may indicate exporting firms employ OFDI to seek complementary and strategic resources/assets, not to improve immediate firm performance. Furthermore, firm performance is influenced by strategic assets, including technology-based capabilities and brands, at the firm level, industry entry barriers at the industry level and the home and host country institutional support at the country level.