Chinese investment: buying up and slaughtering

China buys us: More and more often Chinese investors take over Western companies in key industries. How big is the problem?

Chinese investment: buying up and slaughtering
Content
  • Page 1 — Buy and Slaughter
  • Page 2 — Liberal, but not naïve
  • Page 3 — do not force with brute force
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    We know far too little about China – that's why time online has now put a focus on huge country.

    Even Germany's supreme constitutional guard last struck alarm. "You don't need espionage if you can buy whole companies", commented Hans-Georg Maaßen, president of Federal Office for Protection of Constitution, rapidly growing investments of Chinese companies in Germany. "Gutting and culling" is strategy of Chinese buyers. Maaßen sees a security risk in rapidly growing interest of investors from People's Republic because Chinese companies are obliged to cooperate with local secret services.

    Help, China buys us! Not only in United States, but also in Europe, concerns about Chinese expansion strategy are growing. There were also several cases in Germany: At beginning of 2017, South China household appliance manufacturer Midea took over Augsburg robot producer Kuka for 4.5 billion euros. The Chinese conglomerate HNA rose at Deutsche Bank. And Li Shufu, head of car manufacturer Geely, acquired quietly and secretly almost ten percent of Daimler's shares.

    China China-Focus

    What do we actually know about China? Far too little. In our China focus we are drawing on rapid social, political and economic development of country. The following articles have been published: China: Xi Jinping, president of all China: higher, farr, faster, ChinaNeue Silk Road: China's anchor in Europe Chinese investment: buying up and slaughtering

    Is it really time to hit alarm? The sum of Germany's direct investments in China, with a good 70 billion euro, is still around twice that of Chinese direct investment in Germany (30-35 billion euros). But trend is clear. Chinese investments are growing faster: 2014 by 26.1 percent compared to 2013 and 2015 even by 39.7 percent over 2014. And more and more frequently, buyers from People's Republic are interested in technologically particularly sensitive industrial sectors.

    "Not driven by private capital"

    The prevented takeover of semiconductor plant manufacturer Aixtron by Chinese investor Fujian Grand Chip Investment (FGC) at end of 2016 became turning point in German debate. For 670 million euros, FGC from Chinese Xiamen wanted to buy SME from Herzogenrath near Aachen. The takeover was actually already decided, Federal Ministry of Economics had issued a certificate of safety. But n Berlin obtained information, probably via American intelligence services, according to which Aixtron has a knowledge in chip production that also encompasses safety-relevant technologies. In September 2016, n Minister of Economics Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) recanted declaration of Safety of his ministry.

    Criticism of sale of company had also been given by independent, scientific side. "This takeover is not driven by private capital, but by program Capital in service of national industrial policy," said Sebastian Heilmann, director of Berlin China Research Institute Merics. "Government agencies have actively supported and possibly even directed planned Aixtron takeover."

    Since Aixtron had a subsidiary in Silicon Valley, US government Committee for Foreign Investment (CFIUS) also reviewed sale and came to conclusion that takeover endangered national security of United States. The chips produced on Aixtron in USA are also used in armaments for American armed Forces. In December 2016, US President Barack Obama vetoed sale to Chinese investors. The deal was canceled.

    Updated Date: 09 May 2018, 12:03

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