Business / Economy

China's appetite for cross-border acquisitions to grow

By Li Xiang ( Updated: 2016-04-28 13:35

China's appetite for foreign assets will continue to grow despite the slowing economy as 72 percent of Chinese companies said they planned to make an acquisition over the next three years, according to a recent survey by global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills LLP.

The survey also found that 60 percent of the Chinese respondents said that they will likely make two or more deals in the next three years while 97 percent said at least one acquisition will be a cross-border deal.

Southeast Asia is the top target destination for 47 percent, followed by 17 percent saying their focus will be on Latin America, according to the survey.

The global report on cross-border mergers and acquisitions was carried out by Herbert Smith Freehills in association with FT Remark, the research division of the Financial Times.

It surveyed 700 senior executives at major businesses around the globe at the end of 2015 about their experiences of cross-border M&A and their views about the outlook for deal-making over the next three years.

It was updated in February to capture any change in sentiment due to changing economic conditions in early 2016.

China's outbound deal landscape is varied and not just restricted to heavy industry, said Matt Emsley, head of corporate for Greater China at Herbert Smith Freehills in Hong Kong.

"We have Chinese firms looking to acquire new technology, but also making investments that reflect the changing demographics in China and its rising wealth – in sectors such as hotels and leisure," he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, China remains an attractive proposition to companies seeking deal opportunities and foreign investors are finding it easier to enter China, according to Emsley.

"The economy may previously have been driven by infrastructure and real estate investment–which was what drove demand for commodities–but the manufacturing industry is moving up the value chain and other sectors such as food, healthcare, education and financial services are rising," he said.

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