Chinese financial interests have acquired more than $120 billion of assets in the U.S. economy since 2002. Fifteen Chinese government entities (sovereign wealth funds and state-owned enterprises) and government-connected private sectors firms account for nearly 60 percent of this activity. Major transactions have been recorded in at least 40 states and in diverse sectors. This includes more than 50 acquisitions of American assets worth at least $50 million each in 2016, a high-water mark for inbound Chinese investment.
To make publicly available information about the footprint of Chinese investment in the United States, Public Citizen built a new database of each transaction of $50 million or more backed by public records covering 2002 to 2016. 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. This database also provides a link to one reference for additional information on each deal.
There is no other publicly-available compilation of all of this information. Public Citizen used 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. We welcome comments, questions and suggestions for enhancements.
Policy Context: President Trump promised to reverse the massive U.S. trade deficit with China. In 2017, imports from China are up with the 2017 deficit projected to be larger than the $355 billion 2016 deficit in goods. Little has been achieved to secure more access to China for U.S. exports. But during his China visit, Trump announced deals for more Chinese government influence in the U.S. economy. This included China’s government passing $5 billion through Goldman Sachs to purchase U.S. assets and $127 billion for Chinese state-owned firms to acquire an Alaskan port and natural gas projects in Alaska and West Virginia. The Chinese government’s stated goals are to acquire more U.S. high-tech manufacturing and thus know-how to upgrade China’s industrial base and to own more U.S. highways, railways and energy resources. A U.S-China Bilateral Investment Treaty that would grant Chinese firms broader rights to purchase U.S. firms, land and other assets was almost completed during the previous administration. The few statements made by Trump administration officials have been in support of the China BIT.
Large-Scale Chinese Investment Now Located in 40 U.S. States and Territories
SOURCE: Public Citizen’s Chinese Corporate Investment Database
Chinese Investment in the United States, 2002-2016: Downloadable Dataset
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 2016 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 established by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) 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.
Real Estate, Technology, Distribution Sectors Are Top Targets for
Total Chinese investment in the U.S. economy has reached over $145 billion. This includes more than 50 acquisitions of American assets worth at least $50 million each in 2016, a high-water mark for inbound Chinese investment. Since 2011, the Chinese have invested heavily in different sectors of the American economy, mostly through acquisitions rather than new investments. More may be on the way, as China’s outbound FDI is low relative to the size of China’s economy.
SOURCE: Public Citizen’s Chinese Corporate Investment Database
A proposed U.S.-China Bilateral Investment Treaty (China BIT) would grant Chinese firms broader rights than exist currently to purchase U.S. firms, land and other assets. This treaty would newly expose the U.S. government to demands for compensation from Chinese investors and firms operating in the United States through investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). Chinese investors have already made U.S. investments in sectors that have been subject to a significant number of ISDS claims in other countries (such as energy extraction) and that have generated the most egregious ISDS cases brought to date by foreign investors against sovereign governments. (Entities that are government controlled are denoted by *)
|Investor||Target||Year||Value ($ billion)|
|Sinopec*||Oil & Gas Assets (Five new venture plays)||2012||2.4|
|CNOOC*||Oil & Gas Assets (Eagle Ford Shale in Texas)||2010||2.2|
|Sinochem*||Oil & Gas Assets (Wolfcamp Shale in Texas)||2013||1.7|
|China Investment Corp*||The AES Corp (Virginia)||2009||1.6|
|CNOOC*||Chesapeake Energy Corp (Colorado & Wyoming)||2011||1.3|
|Yantai Xinchao||Tall City and Plymouth Petroleum (Texas)||2015||1.1|
|Sinopec*||Oil & Gas Assets (Oklahoma)||2013||1.0|
A majority of Chinese investments in the United States either come from government controlled entities (e.g. the sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation, 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). The China BIT would provide the same rights to Chinese government and non-government entities alike.
|Investor||Value of Investments
|Share of Total Investments||Ties to Chinese Government|
|Dalian Wanda Group Corp Ltd||10.7||7%||State-linked|
|China Investment Corp||8.9||6%||State-owned enterprise|
|Anbang Insurance Group Co Ltd||7.9||5%||State-linked|
|HNA Group Co Ltd||7.6||5%||State-linked|
|Hainan Traffic Control Holding Co Ltd||2.0||1%||State-linked|
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.