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Chinese FDI in US triples to $46b

By Amy He in New York | China Daily | Updated: 2017-04-27 09:54

Chinese investment in the United States in 2016 more than tripled from 2015 to $46 billion, with Chinese companies adding 1,300 new operations, according to a report.

Chinese-owned companies now employ over 140,000 in the US, with companies increasing their presence in the South and Midwest "significantly", though their investments are still most keenly felt in coastal economies. That's according to New Neighbors: 2017 Update, a report on Chinese investment in US congressional districts, released by the National Committee on US-China Relations and the Rhodium Group on Tuesday.

Geng Shuang, a spokesman of China's Foreign Ministry, said Wednesday that while the report is only from the US side, it did, from one perspective, prove that the bilateral trade and investment are beneficial for both countries.

Chinese investment flowed for the first time into 63 congressional districts last year to reach all but 10 of the nation's 435, the report states.

"The data overwhelmingly suggests Chinese investment in the United States is complementary to the current (US) administration's focus on creating and protecting American jobs," committee President Stephen Orlins wrote in the report. "There is ample room for additional growth, if leaders on both sides can navigate the regulatory hurdles and political barriers that naturally arise in dealings between the world's two largest markets."

New York City's 12th congressional district was the top recipient of Chinese FDI from 2000 to 2016, at $8.66 billion. Rounding out the top five recipient districts were Chicago ($3.8 billion); Raleigh, North Carolina ($3.6 billion); Louisville, Kentucky ($3.3 billion); and San Francisco ($3.16 billion).

The most jobs generated by a single Chinese investment in 2016-6,020-were in Kentucky's third district in Louisville, where Haier acquired GE Appliances for $5.6 billion.

Mergers and acquisitions accounted for 96 percent of investment in 2016, though in major gateway cities like New York and San Francisco, real estate and hospitality investments were more prevalent.

Southern states like Georgia saw investment in manufacturing or research and development facilities for Chinese or Chinese-owned companies.

In addition to Haier's acquisition of GE Appliances, the largest acquisitions included HNA Group's $6 billion purchase of Ingram Micro, and Anbang Insurance Group's $5.5 billion investment in a real estate portfolio from Strategic Hotels, the report said.

In 2016, Chinese companies made 178 individual investments, increasing the total number of Chinese-owned businesses to 3,200 from 1,900 in 2015, the report said.

The report found that Chinese investment in high-tech and innovation-intensive industries has grown rapidly in the last three years, increasing from $2 billion in 2005 to roughly $12 billion last year.

"Chinese entities also continued to invest in early-stage growth companies in America. While these investments have raised some security concerns, they have provided an important source of financing for many US technology companies," the report said.

The authors also found that Chinese investors "do not have a greater propensity than other foreign investors for moving R&D and other high-value added activities back to their home country post-acquisition".

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