A series of high profile mergers and acquisitions undertaken by Chinese companies in the U.S. have prompted debate among American political, business and academic elites in recent years.
With the intention to discover the real motivations of the fast growing Chinese investment in the U.S., and to capture American perceptions, I have had series of discussions with stakeholders in both China and the U.S.. Those include discussions with leading Chinese business leaders who have made high profile overseas investment (Jiang Jianqing, Chairman of ICBC; Wang Jianlin, Chairman of Wanda Group; Freeman Shen, Group Vice President of Geely Group) about their global aspirations, as well as with US policy makers and opinion leaders (Ed Markey, US Senator of Massachusetts; Beverly Perdue, former Governor of North Carolina; Richard Freeman, Harvard Professor for Economics; Jim Rogers, American Investor; John King, Chief National Correspondent for CNN) for their perceptions. Since China first encouraged domestic businesses to “go out” in 1999, Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) has grown rapidly. The 2012 World Investment Report by the United Nations revealed that accumulated Chinese outward FDI was more than $366 billion by the end of 2011, with $65 billion in 2011 alone. Those numbers in the U.S. in 2012 were $27.9 billion and $6.7 billion respectively, according to the China Investment Monitor. They are expected to rise sharply and many observers believe that Chinese enterprises will become more aggressive in their outbound investment in the coming years.