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Chinese Investment in the United States: A Comprehensive Database of Transactions

Chinese financial interests have acquired more than $140 billion of assets in the U.S. economy since 2002. Less than twenty Chinese government entities (sovereign wealth funds and state-owned enterprises) and government-connected private sectors firms account for over 60 percent of this activity. Since 2002, major transactions have been recorded in 40 states and in 2017, they were in sectors increasingly aligned with China’s industrial policy priorities as compared to 2016.

To make publicly available information about the footprint of Chinese investment in the United States, Public Citizen maintains a database of each transaction of $50 million or more backed by public records covering 2002 to 2017. With our downloadable dataset, for each deal, you can view (and sort by) the year, sector, location, investment type (greenfield or acquisition), investing entity, target (for acquisitions only) and deal value.

Public Citizen uses media reports, regulatory  filings, company reports, press releases and other sources to develop a bottom-up, transactions-based approach that complements balance-of-payments data on investments as this database allows for a disaggregation of the data in different ways.

Policy Context: Public Citizen data shows China has recycled more than $140 billion in U.S. trade surplus money into acquisition of strategic U.S. assets. The Trump administration was expected to announce new restrictions on Chinese investment on June 30 to follow on the “Section 301” tariffs aiming at unfair trade practices and technology transfer. As even critics of Trump’s trade tactics warn, the Chinese government’s “China 2025” plan to dominate industries of the future using acquisitions, subsidies, mercantilist trade policies, and cybertheft is a serious threat. Such investments are crucial to China’s state-led industrial strategy and are part of a multi-pronged effort to gain competitive advantage in key sectors.

Investment from China in the United States, 2002-2017: A Downloadable Dataset

View/Download Full Data: Excel

Methodological Notes: The database includes U.S. investments made by entities based in mainland China at a minimum value threshold of $50 million. Only completed transactions are represented here; unlike some other China investment databases that rely on press reports of deals being announced, we list only those investments that came to fruition. Thus transactions still pending at the end of 2017 are not included in the database. For acquisitions, we do not list investments that resulted in less than 10% of the target having been acquired as these are not considered foreign direct investment, by definition. Greenfield projects are added only when there is evidence that the project has broken ground. The location of the investment deal identifies where the new facility has been built or of the headquarters of the U.S. entity being acquired, not where the business is registered as the latter may be selected for tax purposes. Industry categories are customized groupings of codes according to Made in China 2025 sectors and are based on the main activity of the acquired company or the new facility established. Transaction values are not listed for a number of entries in the database because if that information is not publicly disclosed, we do not attempt to estimate the value as is the practice of some other China investment databases.

18 out of Top 20 Chinese Investors in U.S. Are Connected to the Chinese Government & Account for Over 60 Percent of Total Chinese Investment Dollars in U.S. Since 2002

A majority of Chinese investments in the United States either come from government controlled entities (e.g. the sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation (CIC), Sinopec, CNOOC) and government agencies (e.g. SAFE) OR the top Chinese conglomerates with close connections to the Chinese government, ranging from companies that are influenced by the government (e.g. WH Group/Shuanghui) to ones strongly linked to the government (e.g. HNA Group). Many ostensibly private companies enjoy links (in the form of relationships and financing) to the Chinese government that are not typically recognized (e.g. WH Group/Shuanghui).

Investor Value of Investments
($ billion)
Share (%) Ties to China’s Government
1. HNA Group 24.5 16% State-linked
2. Dalian Wanda Group Corp Ltd 10.7 6% State-linked
3. Anbang Insurance 7.9 5% State-linked
4. China Investment Corp 7.7 5% Sovereign wealth fund
5. WH Groups/Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd 7.2 4% State-influenced
6. Lenovo Group 7.1 4% State-linked
7. Quingdao Haier 5.6 3% State-owned enterprise
8. Shanghai Greenland Group 4.4 3% State-linked
9. China Life Insuance 4.0 2% State-owned enterprise
10. Fosun International Ltd 3.7 2% State-linked
11. China Petrochemical Corp (Sinopec) 3.6 2% State-owned enterprise
12. Apex Technology; Legend Capital; PAG Asia Capital 3.5 2% Partially state owned
13. CNOOC 3.5 2% State-owned enterprise
14. SMI USA (formerly Shanghai Municipal Investment) 3.0 2% State-owned enterprise
15. Hangzhou Liaison Interactive Information Technology 2.8 2% Private
16. State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) 2.5 1% Government agency
17. Shandong Tralin Paper 2.2 1% Private
18. Hainan Traffic Control Holding Co Ltd 2.0 1% State-linked
19. Oceanwide Holdings 2.0 1% State-linked
20. Hua Capital Management; CITIC Capital Holdings; CITIC Securities 1.8 1% CITIC is a state-owned enterprise

SOURCE: Public Citizen’s Database on Chinese Investment in the United States

Notes: “State-linked” = No government ownership but evidence exists of well-known relationships with government entities or current/former government officials. “State-influenced” = No government ownership but evidence exists of relationship between organization’s activities and government incentives/mandates, such as five-year plans, or favorable financing from state-owned banks.

An Increasing Share of Chinese Investment in U.S. Aligns with “China 2025” Strategic Sectors

Public Citizen has identified deals in eight out of ten Made in China 2025 priority sectors. The value of investment in sectors defined by China as “strategic,” including aviation, biotechnology, new energy vehicles and seven others, jumped from 25 to 56 percent from 2016 to 2017.

SOURCE: Public Citizen’s Database on Chinese Investment in the United States
Notes: Value accounts for deals with publically disclosed transaction values only; “MIC sector” = “Made in China 2025” industrial policy priority sector.

Investments from China in the United States Help China Acquire Technology

China’s investments in sectors considered strategic in 2017 help facilitate the transfer of technology to China, the issue that prompted an official “Section 301” investigation by the United States into unfair trade practices by China. In 2017, such investments include the purchase of a medical technology firm in South Carolina by an investor group headed by the Chinese sovereign wealth fund to the acquisition by state-linked HNA Group of a California cybersecurity firm and included the sales to leading Chinese technology firms of a semiconductor manufacturer in Pennsylvania and wind turbines in Texas.

SOURCE: Public Citizen’s Database on Chinese Investment in the United States