Chinese investments into Europe and United States reach record high in 2015 - but UK levels dip 35 per cent

William Turvill
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David Cameron And Chinese President Xi Jinping Visit Princes Risborough Pub
Chinese foreign direct investment into Europe and the United States reached record levels last year

Chinese investment into Europe hit record levels last year - but dipped in the UK, according to a new report.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) from China totalled $23bn (£16bn) in Europe in 2015, according to Baker & McKenzie research.

On the other side of the Atlantic, last year marked a record for Chinese FDI into the United States, with $15.3bn invested. And $1.5bn was invested in Canada.

The law firm also noted that the first six weeks of 2016 have been the busiest period for announced Chinese M&A activity in Europe and North America, with $70bn of potential deals in the pipeline.

Read more: How China's slowdown will hit London

While the UK was the third largest European recipient of Chinese investment last year, its $3.3bn was down 35 per cent on a record 2014.

Tim Gee, Baker & McKenzie’s London M&A partner, said: “After what was a blockbuster 2014, we have continued to see elevated levels of in-bound foreign investment coming from Asia, which is helping revive the economy and boosting confidence for the year ahead.

"This is already evidenced by the strong pipeline of business deals which were signed following Chinese President Xi Jinping visit to Britain last October."

Europe’s largest recipients were Italy, which China invested $7.8bn in, and France, which attracted $3.6bn.

Read more: UK will boost foreign investment into China to over £26bn by 2020

Michael DeFranco, chair of the firm’s global M&A practice, noted that Chinese companies were “acting with confidence” in Europe and North America despite “turbulent economic times”.

He added: "While inevitably not every deal announced so far in 2016 will come to fruition, after such a fast start we could well be seeing another record year."

The Baker & McKenzie report, which is titled "Bird's-Eye View: Chinese Investment into Europe and North America" and released in May, said Chinese FDI in Europe and North America has been breaking records for five years.

Since the turn of the century, $205bn has been invested across the continents - $108bn in North America and $97bn in Europe. And nearly 80 per cent of that total has been invested since 2011.

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