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Tracking China's Global Investment

BritCham / CBBC
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The Heritage Foundation has created a dataset outlining Chinese Foreign Investment World wide. It details over 400 attempted transactions - failed and successful – in various industries including energy, mining, transportation and banking (but excludes excludes both bond purchases and transactions smaller than $100 million).

The data analyses trends from 2005 through to the first half of 2011, showing a breakdown of the $ 376.7 billion China invested by country and sector. Until 2004, most Chinese outbound investment was directed to ‘friendly’ states such as Pakistan and Sudan, but current trends show that China has a truly global activity, with the PRC investing in every part of the planet. In terms of sector, investment in energy is the clear leader.

China’s investment rates have been steadily increasing between 2005- 2008, but there has only been moderate investment growth since 2008 (with the financial crisis having an impact in late 2008 and early 2009, and there has yet to be a return to the powerful growth before the crisis). Levels in 2010 reached the highest so far, at $16 billion, but it is yet to be seen whether 2011 levels will match this figure- with data only available for the first half of 2011 ($8 billion).

Chinese investment to the UK was highest in 2007 at $4 billion, dropping to $1 billion in 2010, but already reaching this figure in the first half of 2011. The majority of investment over the 2005- 2011 period has gone into the financial sector ($8 billion), followed by energy ($3.4 billion) metals ($8 million), real estate ($4450 million), and agriculture ($370 million).

2010 saw a great influx of investment to the South American countries of Brazil and Argentina. Brazil is currently third in the target for Chinese foreign investment, trailing only Australia and the US. Australia was the largest recipient of China’s investment with a total of $38.4 billion, the majority of which going to the metals sector

China’s investment total could be higher, and over $160 billion in proposed spending has been rejected by foreign or Chinese regulators, or has failed due to mistakes by Chinese firms. Despite the steady growth of investment in overseas sectors, the figures are put into perspective considering that in 2010 America recorded $10 in foreign direct and portfolio investment.

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