The top 10 Chinese investors buying up the world

From oil and gas to wine and airports, these Chinese companies led the country's global investment spree in 2012.

China Upon London. China Investment Corp. arrived with a 10 percent share of Heathrow Airport in 2012.

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Hong Kong private equity fund A Capital has released a stellar report on China's 2012 direct investments in foreign companies.

A collection of colorful charts in the company's "A Capital Dragon Index" looks at:

  • Where China invested - Europe led, followed by N. America.
  • The sectors in which China invested - "resources" topped this one, oil and gas in particular.
  • Growth of outward investment - it surged 14 percent, nearly twice the country's GDP growth. The European portion rocketed 21 percent as China bought into energy companies, oil and gas, satellites, water, airports (London's Heathrow), and even a cereal company (Britain's Weetabix), a  French wine exporter (Diva Bordeaux), and Denmark's quality audio and video company Bang & Olufsen, among others.
  • The top 10 investors (see chart below)

Despite the implication in my headline above, China still lags behind U.S. and European companies for overseas investments A Capital notes, although the firm predicts strong growth.

"We expect Chinese overseas investment to grow from the current $80 billion to around $150 billion per year," says A Capital managing partner Andre Loesekrug-Pietri. "We can expect this outflow from China to grow continuously in the years to come and reach around $800 billion for the period up to 2016/2017."

A Capital spotted a reversal of China's preference to take outright control of foreign companies, as "minority" deals represented over half  - 58 percent - of investments last year.

"This is a promising sign which points to a more mature and pragmatic approach by Chinese investors," Loesekrug-Pietri notes. "These groups are willing to take a gradual approach, less risky in terms of integration and public perception."

The Top 10 investors and their activity: (For a larger version, click on the chart)

Photo from Andy Catterall via Heathrow Photo Library. Chart from A Capital.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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