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Australia, top destination for Chinese investment, faces growing competition

Updated: 2013-03-15 21:48

Australia maintained its top ranking as the most significant recipient of Chinese outbound direct investment since large-scale investment began in earnest in 2005, a study has found.

But it is losing its dominant status, according to the latest study by KPMG and The University of Sydney.

"Chinese investment is geographically diversifying, and the USA and Canada in particular are catching up with Australia," said Professor Hans Hendrischke of The University of Sydney China Studies Centre.

Canada achieved top position for Chinese investment for 2012, due to completion of the $15.1 billion CNOOC-Nexen oil and gas company deal.

By the end of 2012, total accumulated investment reached $51 billion in Australia, followed by $50.7 billion in the USA and $36.7 billion in Canada. Other major recipients included Brazil and Russia. The largest investment destinations in Europe and Africa are the United Kingdom and Nigeria.

Although short of the historic peak of $16.2 billion in 2008, Chinese direct investment inflows into Australia in 2012 increased 21 percent from 2011 to reach $11.4 billion across 27 transactions, up from $9.4 billion in 2011 and $3.7 billion in 2010.

Doug Ferguson, head of KPMG's China Practice in Australia, said: "These numbers confirm that Australia is still a priority destination due to our vast supply of high quality natural resources, stable and reliable institutional systems and clean, green and fresh image for lifestyle.

"While mining and resources still dominate investments, we're seeing greater diversification towards LNG, agribusiness, renewable wind energy and real estate."

Ferguson expects to see continued growth in areas including engineering and architecture, renewable energy, specialist environmental services and food safety and processing.

The proportion of investments by privately owned Chinese companies rose during 2012, while the share of capital invested by Chinese State-owned enterprises declined across the year.