Skip to content

China to Become One of World’s Biggest Investors, Stepping up Global Investment

According to a joint study by the Mercator Institute for China Studies and the Rhodium Group, entitled Chinese FDI in Europe and Germany: Preparing for a New Era of Chinese Capital, China’s foreign assets will triple in five years: China will have US$20 trillion (C$25 trillion) in global assets (Chinese residents’ claims on foreign assets) under full capital account convertibility by 2020, up from a current total of US$6.4 trillion. Projections for China’s global outbound foreign direct investment (OFDI) stock are for it to grow from the current US$744 billion to as much as US$2 trillion by 2020, a possibility in line with the growth of annual OFDI flows from nearly zero in the mid-2000s to over US$100 billion per year at present.

2014 saw €14 billion (C$20 billion) in Chinese annual OFDI into the European Union, a record high; this was up from €7 billion in 2011, €7 billion in 2012, and €6 billion in 2013. Overall, more than €46 billion was invested over the 2000-2014 period in 1,047 OFDI transactions. Between 2000 and 2014, cumulative investment in the United Kingdom – the largest EU recipient of Chinese OFDI – totalled €12.212 billion, Germany €6.872 billion, France €5.907 billion, Portugal €5.138 billion, Italy €4.202 billion, and the Netherlands €2.997 billion, with other EU states receiving the remaining €9 billion.

The energy sector – encompassing projects, assets, and utilities in renewable energies and fossil fuels – had nearly €13 billion invested between 2000 and 2014, while the automotive industry saw €6 billion, machinery €4 billion, and information and communications technology €3 billion. The report notes that while China is a heavyweight in terms of trade, it had a share of only 3.4% of the world’s financial cross-border assets and liabilities in 2011, with a current stock of OFDI as a proportion of GDP at 7%; far lower than the OFDI stock to GDP ratios of Germany (47%), the US (38%), and Japan (20%).

Need an account? Sign up