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Chinese private firms tap into overseas markets

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-04-26 16:20

The company's chairman Zhang Yuliang said it will increase foreign investment by more than $10 billion this year.

China has become the world's third largest foreign investor. Since reform and opening up in the late 1970s, Chinese accumulated overseas investment topped $600 billion by the end of 2013. Investment was worth $104.5 billion alone last year, statistics showed.

Other figures revealed that foreign investment of non-public enterprises in Shanghai had reached $7.83 billion over the past five years, accounting for 54.2 percent of total overseas investment.

China's economic restructuring and industrial upgrading have provided opportunities for private enterprises to go global, said Zhang Lizhou, general manager of the investment banking department of China Minsheng Banking Corp Ltd.

"In the past, real estate, energy, manufacturing firms all made money in China, but now it is very hard. Overcapacity has haunted various industries like steel, photovoltaic and shipbuilding. Private enterprises have to go overseas for more opportunities," he said.

Booming overseas investment by Chinese private firms can be attributed to more freedom, the yuan's appreciation and comparatively low prices of foreign assets, according to a survey jointly published by US think tank Asia Society and consulting firm Rhodium Group.

A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said new trends are emerging as the proportion of Chinese private firms seeking M&A overseas has gradually increased.

It said unlike Chinese state-owned enterprises which invest in industries like energy, electricity and resources, private firms choose diversified areas including consumer goods, services and high technology.

Gao Zhen, a managing partner at Mandarin Capital Partners, said, "Previous waves of Chinese overseas investment mainly focused on resources, but now more private firms are preferring business opportunities that could help them in industrial upgrading," he said.

Enterprises have matured during the process. Technology and strategic cooperation now seem more attractive than mere share holdings.

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