China state fund CIC eyes investments in Germany

December 21, 2015 07:33
Robotics will play an important role in Industrie 4.0. Photo: Siemens

Chinese sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp. (CIC) is eyeing investments in Europe's biggest economy, its chief investment officer told a German business paper.

"We are looking at a variety of objects," Li Keping, who also serves as CIC's vice chairman and president, told Handelsblatt in an interview, excerpts of which were published on Sunday.

He said the fund, which manages about US$750 billion of China's foreign exchange reserves, was particularly interested in firms involved in "Industrie 4.0".

The German government initiative is backed by lobby groups in engineering, electronics and high-tech and is aimed at addressing issues such as worker skills, data transfer standards and data security, Reuters reported.

CIC was also closely watching the sale of government-owned assets in Greece, Li said, without elaborating.

The firm was founded in 2007 to help China earn a higher return on its foreign exchange reserves, worth US$3.73 trillion at the end of March. At least a quarter of CIC's assets are overseas.

Li also tried to allay fears that China's communist leadership would intervene too strongly in European holdings.

"We are not aiming for direct control of companies in our portfolio," he said. The fund mainly plans to take minority stakes, Li said.

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