“After having been a land of welcome for foreign money in a first time, China has invested in its turn,” says Mary-Françoise Renard, head of the Institute for research on the economics of China (IDREC), the University of Clermont-Auvergne. In fact, in 2005, China had completed 13 transactions of more than $ 100 million, according to data collected by the american think tank The American Enterprise Institute. Thirteen years later, at the end of June 2018, it has made 1 406. 120 countries are involved, with a growing presence in Europe and the Middle East. Few countries escape the chinese, even North Korea has been the subject of an investment in the rail sector in January 2011.

The United States ($176 billion), Australia (94,2) and Great Britain (72,9) form the top trio in which China has invested the most. France is ranked at the 10th position, with $ 23 billion received.

Energies, raw materials and infrastructure

on the mains Side, China has widely diversified its investments. In 2005, transactions in excess of $ 100 million will not be operating in five sectors: energy, transport, metals, technology, and chemicals. By 2017, this number increased to 12, with commitments in the tourism, health, real estate, agriculture, entertainment…

“To a period, chinese firms have invested any azimuth, in many areas, to put money,” says Mary-Françoise Renard. “The real estate, the purchase of land in particular, also allowed us to launder money or to get out of the capital for the Chinese wealthy.”

China is interested in both start-ups and digital (Uber, Snapchat, Airbnb,…) to the florets of industrial companies (Pirelli, Peugeot,…) ; for both banks (Barclays, Goldman Sachs) that the tech giants of its neighbors (Toshiba, Panasonic, Fujitsu…)

“to Overcome its problematic internal”

“The international investments are to China as a means of serving its economic and political interests,” summarizes the researcher. “They are intended to enable it to overcome its problems of internal and increase its competitiveness.”

This explains the transactions colossal in the sector of energy or raw materials, in which China has a deficit. 15 billion in 2012 for the canadian producer of oil and natural gas, Nexen, $ 13 billion in 2008 for the production of aluminium in Australia, or 3 to redeem 30% of GDF Suez in 2011… The list is long. And that is understandable. With its 1.36 billion inhabitants and an economy that wants to be in a state of perpetual growth, the needs are massive. The 5 sectors (energy, metals, transport, real estate and agriculture concentrated and 70% of chinese investments since 2005.

Since 2013, “the launch of the project of the new silk roads has led to a focus on certain specific sectors such as those related to infrastructure,” according to Mary-Françoise Renard. This project mammoth aims to expand a network of waterways, rail, road, sea, connecting China to western Europe via central Asia, the indochinese peninsula and East Africa. A way for Beijing to ensure its sustenance and energy trade, but also “to legitimize its place in world governance, to ensure its economic growth, and to develop south-South relations.”


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