Chinese foreign direct investment into Europe hit a record US$18 billion last year, double the 2013 level, the Financial Times said, citing a report from China-focused research group Rhodium.
Investors from China have spent an average of US$12 billion in the region over the past four years. In 2014 alone, Chinese companies were involved in 153 deals.
This indicates that the country’s economic slowdown may have prompted Chinese investors to seek overseas opportunities, according to the report Rodium compiled for law firm Baker & McKenzie.
Over the past decade, 70 percent of Chinese investment in Europe has gone to economies that have emerged relatively unscathed from the financial crisis, the newspaper said. But more recently, Chinese investors have targeted assets being privatized in weaker economies.
They are also becoming more interested in European businesses with long-term growth potential, such as technology firms, according to Rhodium. Investments in real estate, food and financials are also growing in popularity.
Since 2000, Britain has been the biggest recipient of Chinese investment. It has attracted a total of US$16 billion, compared with US$8.4bn in Germany, US$8 billion in France, US$6.7 billion in Portugal and US$5.6 billion in Italy, the newspaper said.
Last year, Chinese investors poured US$5.1 billion into Britain, including US$2.6 billion in the real estate sector. This includes the acquisition of Chiswick Park, an office development west of London, by sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp.
Italy was the second most popular destination of Chinese investment last year at US$3.5 billion, followed by the Netherlands and Portugal, the report said.
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