Good News! Good News! Chinese Investment in Australia Crashes! By James Reed
“Chinese investment in Australia has fallen by almost 60% as Beijing shifts its focus towards developing nations that have signed up for its Belt and Road Initiative.Despite record trade between the two nations, Chinese investment in Australia fell from $8.2bn in 2018 to $3.4bn in 2019, with 43% fewer deals struck. A new report puts the plunge down to tighter Chinese regulations, a negative perception of Australia’s investment rules, and a shift towards Latin America and Belt and Road projects in developing countries. The KPMG and University of Sydney study found new Chinese investment in Australia had plunged to its lowest level since 2007. Hans Hendrischke, one of the report’s authors, said the decline mirrored similar patterns in other western countries. But he said Chinese investment into Australia had fallen at a faster rate than other nations including the United States. Australian food and agricultural businesses were the biggest recipients of Chinese investment, with 44% of the total funding flowing into the sector. The result was largely driven by the acquisition of the Bellamy’s dairy company. The commercial real estate sector was the second largest recipient despite an annual decline of 51%. Significant Chinese investment also flowed into the mining and services sectors. Renewable energy projects accounted for 1% of total Chinese investments and there were no recorded transactions in oil and gas, infrastructure or healthcare in 2019. Doug Ferguson, a co-author of the report, expects Chinese investment in Australia to remain fairly subdued in the coming year. “The impact of Covid-19 will no doubt have an ongoing influence as governments move to protect critical infrastructure and tech, and try to prevent opportunistic acquisitions of companies at undervalued prices,” he said. “Restrictions on travel have practically disabled new deal-making and due diligence activity.” However, Ferguson said a large number of Chinese companies already operating in Australia would continue to strike deals and drive trade.
The present global china crisis has the positive effects of at least beginning a critical analysis of what China has been up to, but the road to freedom is a long way ahead. Look ahead into the distance, dear friends!