Jan. 17, 2018: Chinese FDI in the US in 2017 (Rhodium Group)

 Posted by on January 30, 2018  News  Comments Off on Jan. 17, 2018: Chinese FDI in the US in 2017 (Rhodium Group)
Jan 302018

Thilo Hanemann and Daniel H. Rosen | January 17, 2018

Headline Investment Dropped by 35%

RHG’s China Investment Monitor recorded 141 Chinese direct investment transactions in the US worth $29 billion in 2017. This represents a drop of 35% drop compared to the record year 2016 but is still the second-largest year on the record for Chinese investment in the United States.

The split between mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and greenfield projects remained similar to previous years, with M&A accounting for 98% of total investment. In terms of industries, the biggest losers were entertainment, consumer products and services and real estate and hospitality. Investment remained stable or grew in health and biotech, ICT and transport and infrastructure. While sovereign and state-owned players gained globally in 2017, private investors continued to account for about 90% of investment in the US. More details on the composition of 2017 investment are available through our China Investment Monitor.

New Deal-making Down More than 90%

The completed transactions perspective does not adequately portray the drastic fall-off in Chinese investment activity throughout the year. More than half (60%) of the 2017 transaction value stemmed from the completion of deals announced during the 2016 investment boom. Considering new activity in 2017 only, the decline was much sharper: The value of newly announced Chinese acquisitions in the US fell to $8.7 billion in 2017, a drop of more than 90% from 2016 and the lowest level in six years.

Friendly Fire: Chinese capital controls

The principal factor behind the decline in China-to-US deal flow was Beijing’s changing stance on outbound capital flows. In late 2016, Chinese regulators launched an informal crackdown on “irrational” outbound investment to contain large-scale capital outflows that were melting down China’s reserves. In August, these informal policies were codified through a new OFDI regime based on lists of six types of encouraged investments, five types of restricted investments and five types of prohibited investments. Some of the restricted sectors have been important drivers of Chinese FDI in the US in recent years, including real estate and hospitality (which accounted for 36% of total US investment in the past 3 years) and sports and entertainment (another 7% of total investment in the past 3 years).

In May 2017, Chinese regulators also began to scrutinize large private conglomerates’ outbound investment activities as part of a broader effort to clean up risks and reduce leverage in China’s financial sector. Many of these investors have been aggressive overseas dealmakers in the US in recent years, including entertainment empire Wanda and conglomerate HNA Group (which was single-handedly responsible for almost one third of total Chinese investment in the US in 2015-2016).

Globally, Beijing’s regulatory crackdown triggered the first drop in Chinese outbound FDI after more than a decade of continuous growth: China’s Ministry of Commerce recorded a drop of 29% in non-financial outbound FDI for the full year 2017, the first decline since 2006. Other official Chinese datasets recorded an even sharper decline: the State Administration of Foreign Exchange recorded a drop of 64% in the growth of Chinese FDI assets in China’s balance of payments for 1Q-3Q 2017.

In the United States, the informal crackdown triggered an immediate drop-off in Chinese deal activity (Figure 3). In addition to curbing new activity, Beijing’s crackdown also resulted in the breakup of several pending US transactions, including Wanda’s $1 billion acquisition of Dick Clark Productions or Anhui Xinke’s $345 million acquisition of a stake in Voltage Pictures.

Security Screenings Bog Down US Investment

The second factor explaining the 2017 decline in both completed and announced transactions was greater US regulatory pushback. An unprecedented number of Chinese deals were delayed or abandoned in 2017 as parties failed to obtain approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which screens foreign acquisitions for potential national security risks.

Growing CFIUS deal risk was driven by two factors: first, the slow progress with government transition left many leadership positions unfilled for the better part of 2017, causing delays and a cycle of re-submissions. Second, and more importantly, CFIUS seems to have broadened its approach for reviewing Chinese deals, taking into consideration a broader array of criteria when assessing security risks, for example state-sponsored M&A activity to obtain certain technologies or concerns about data protection.

Prominent transactions that were abandoned during the year because of unresolved CFIUS concerns included Canyon Bridge Capital’s acquisition of Lattice Semiconductor, Zhongwang’s acquisition of Aleris Corp, Orient Hontai’s acquisition of a stake in Applovin and HNA’s acquisition of a stake in Global Eagle Entertainment. In early January 2018, Ant Financial abandoned its proposed acquisition of Moneygram due to CFIUS concerns. Financial regulators also stepped up scrutiny of Chinese investors in 2017, with the SEC freezing the sale of the Chicago Stock Exchange to a consortium led by China’s Chongqing Casin Enterprise Group, and state financial regulators inquiring into Anbang’s acquisition of Fidelity & Guaranty Life. If completed, these deals would have added at least another $7-8 billion to the 2017 headline figure.

In addition to busting pending transactions, growing US regulatory assertiveness and uncertainty also weighed on new Chinese deal making through the end of the year. This is particularly apparent when looking at the investment momentum in the second half of 2017: While global Chinese outbound investment activity rebounded globally and in other OECD economies (most importantly the EU and Canada), it remained depressed in the US (Figure 4).

Outlook: From Bad to Worse?

Chinese commercial appetite for US investment expansion is stronger than ever, but regulatory hurdles won’t fade in Beijing and will almost surely increase in the US.

In China, the restrictive outbound investment regime will remain in place. Worries about capital flight have subsided and Beijing is putting on a brave face about 2018 expectations. However, the table looks set for a return of the conditions that fueled capital flight during the past two years: rising US growth and interest rates, and a China unable to raise rates significantly without causing corporate insolvencies. While Beijing has loosened the leash on corporate outbound investment a bit in the second half of 2017, we expect regulators to remain in a conservative mode, trying to keep capital outflows at “healthy” levels and steering aggregate investment levels by influencing individual deals as needed.

Even if domestic and global macroeconomic conditions permit Beijing to loosen capital controls this year, changes on the US side may stymie a recovery in bilateral flows. The 2017 China-US OFDI downturn was overwhelmingly due to China’s capital controls, with tighter US screening playing just a supporting role. But 2018 will be a different story. A series of 2017 and early 2018 deal failures suggests CFIUS concerns are already swelling. The Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act, or FIRRMA, is making progress on Capitol Hill and appears likely to come to a vote this year. China epitomizes the “countries of special concern” the bill is concerned with, and in expanding the types of transactions subject to screening, a significant share of the marginal growth in foreign investment in the US would be treated with suspicion.

Beyond FDI policy and screening per se, the Trump Administration issued a new National Security Strategy in the final days of 2017 which redefined China as a strategic rival, removed a presumption of engagement and knit economic interaction into the security calculus in a profound way.  This change to a confrontational economic-security policy will almost surely sour the US-China investment climate, with negative implications for future flows. The presumption that China is actively pursuing a zero-sum campaign toward the United States – as suggested by the new Administration document – will result in more onerous treatment for many Chinese firms operating in the US, even when they are not in sectors of national security concern. President Trump’s State of the Union on January 30th and decisions on several trade cases in coming weeks will signal just how aggressive this shift will be.

The extent of strategic re-orientation will make a huge difference in future Chinese investment flows to the US. If it were just a matter of narrowly-defined national security, the US could redouble its diligence screening for risks and still enjoy a great expansion of Chinese investment: today’s levels are not high in proportion to the size of our two economies. National security and ample deal flow are not an either-or.  But a draconian effort to push back on China’s economic footprint in America that transcends discreet national security concerns will forfeit these opportunities.


Jan. 11, 2018: World Trade Center-Indy Signs MOU with WTC-Harbin

 Posted by on January 23, 2018  News  Comments Off on Jan. 11, 2018: World Trade Center-Indy Signs MOU with WTC-Harbin
Jan 232018

On January 11th, World Trade Center-Indianapolis signed a Memorandum of Understanding agreement with World Trade Center-Harbin (China). The agreement, witnessed by Lt. Gov Suzanne Crouch, seeks to develop commercial exchanges with regular meetings to cultivate opportunities in agriculture, ag-tech and water resource management.

Dec. 1, 2017: Chinese Manufacturer Opens Distribution Center in Brownsburg

 Posted by on December 5, 2017  News  Comments Off on Dec. 1, 2017: Chinese Manufacturer Opens Distribution Center in Brownsburg
Dec 052017

Hangzhou Hidea Power Machinery Co., Ltd, a Chinese manufacturer of outboard engines and motors, announced today the opening of its first distribution center in the United States.


“As a logistics hub, central Indiana offers us the ability to reach more of our customers and dealers to build win-win partnerships,” said Jackie Jiao, Operations Manager of Hidea. “We’re very appreciative of the welcoming environment and are grateful to have local and regional support.”


The company, headquartered in Indiana’s sister state Zhejiang, will invest approximately $500,000 to lease and equip the distribution center located at 1630 E. Northfield Drive. As part of the investment, Hidea will hire warehouse technicians and marketing associates for its new facility. Interested applicants can apply directly to


“We’re very happy to welcome Hidea to the Hoosier State,” said Colin Renk, executive director of the America China Society of Indiana. “Indiana has developed a rich, long-standing relationship with China and we’re committed to creating more mutually beneficial opportunities in the future.”


In August, Governor Eric Holcomb welcomed Zhejiang Party Secretary Che Jun to Indiana to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Indiana’s sister state relationship with Zhejiang Province. As part of the event, an MOU was signed to strengthen business and economic ties between the two states.


“Brownsburg is excited to welcome Hidea to our community as we begin to grow our international business connections with Zhejiang Province,” said Ashley Bacsu, Brownsburg Town Council President. “We are very pleased to be selected for the first logistics and distribution center for Hidea in the United States.”

Nov. 14, 2017: ACSI Hosts China Business Conference

 Posted by on November 28, 2017  News  Comments Off on Nov. 14, 2017: ACSI Hosts China Business Conference
Nov 282017

On Tuesday, November 14th, the America China Society of Indiana hosted its second China Business Conference at The Conrad in downtown Indianapolis. The half-day, outbound focused event featured presentations on:

Briefing on China’s 19th Party Congress
Mr. Russell Menyhart // Partner at Taft Stettinius & Hollister

China-Indiana Economic Report
Mr. Kok-Chi Tsim // Managing Director at JPMorgan Chase

E-Commerce in China
Mr. William Ashworth //  Director of Local and State Affairs at Alibaba Group

Opportunities and Challenges for Hoosier businesses in China
Mr. Harrison Ding // President and CEO at and HiElites
Mr. Ralf Lorenzen // President of Business Process Solutions at Telamon Corporation
Dr. Craig Seidelson // Assistant Professor at University of Indianapolis

Thank you to our Sponsors!
2017 Sponsors


Aug. 24, 2017: ACSI Signs MOU with Zhejiang Int’l Investment Promotion Center

 Posted by on September 5, 2017  News  Comments Off on Aug. 24, 2017: ACSI Signs MOU with Zhejiang Int’l Investment Promotion Center
Sep 052017


The America China Society of Indiana (ACSI), a membership-based non-profit which facilitates bilateral business opportunities between Indiana and China, signed today a Memorandum of Understanding agreement with the Zhejiang International Investment Promotion Center (ZIIPC) at the Indiana-Zhejiang 30th Anniversary Celebration & Business Seminar at the Indiana Convention Center.

The agreement, witnessed by Governor Holcomb and Zhejiang Party Secretary Mr. Che Jun, aims to strengthen the business and economic ties between the state of Indiana and its sister province Zhejiang. Through this new platform, Indiana businesses, entrepreneurs and economic development professionals will be able to promote their products and services to potential partners in Zhejiang.

“Today marks a new chapter in the Indiana-China business relationship,” said Colin Renk, executive director of ACSI. “Through this agreement, organizations will have direct lines of communication with their counterparts in Zhejiang to provide more business opportunities for Indiana companies and more jobs for Hoosier workers.”

Between 2006-2016, Indiana’s goods exports to China rose 282% compared to the 51% growth rate in Indiana goods exported to the rest of the world. In 2015, Indiana’s exports to China supported 20,300 American jobs.

“For the past thirty years, Zhejiang has had a prosperous relationship with Indiana and we believe that by signing this agreement, our cooperation will be even better,” said Mr. Lu Weiqi, director of the Zhejiang International Investment Promotion Center.

Aug. 24, 2017: Indiana Renews Chinese Sister-State Partnership, Strengthening Global Ties

 Posted by on September 5, 2017  News  Comments Off on Aug. 24, 2017: Indiana Renews Chinese Sister-State Partnership, Strengthening Global Ties
Sep 052017


Governor Eric J. Holcomb joined economic and cultural stakeholders from Indiana and China’s Zhejiang Province today to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Indiana-Zhejiang sister-state relationship, celebrating economic, cultural and educational efforts shared between the two states.

“We are thrilled to celebrate our 30 years of friendship with Zhejiang Province and reaffirm our cultural and economic ties,” Gov. Holcomb said. “It’s partnerships like this that help propel Indiana and Zhejiang to new levels, creating new business opportunities and enhancing international trade. As our future unfolds, I look forward to seeing the benefits that come from our global partnership.”

During the celebration, Gov. Holcomb and Zhejiang Party Secretary Che Jun, the highest-ranking official in the province and a member of the Zhejiang Provincial People’s Congress, renewed the Indiana-Zhejiang sister-state agreement that dates back to 1987. The agreement reaffirms the Indiana-Zhejiang sister-state relationship to further enhance economic relations, encourage industrial innovation and foster cultural, educational and healthcare exchanges.

After the ceremony, government, educational and business leaders participated in a business matchmaking seminar, allowing China-based firms and Indiana companies with operations in China to strengthen trade opportunities. Guests also had the opportunity to visit a tourism exhibition, which highlighted Zhejiang’s culture and tourist destinations.

Since 2010, China-based companies have announced plans to invest $217.4 million and create more than 929 new jobs in Indiana. Earlier this year, BeijingWest Industries, Co. Ltd announced plans to locate its first U.S. production facility in Indiana, creating up to 440 new, high-wage jobs by 2021.

Indiana is home to approximately 800 foreign-owned business that provide more than 170,000 quality jobs for Indiana residents. In 2016, more than $1.7 billion in exports were sent to Chinese markets from Indiana, making the country Indiana’s fourth largest-export location in the world.

June 22, 2017: Chinese-owned SF Motors Agrees to Buy AM General Plant

 Posted by on June 27, 2017  News  Comments Off on June 22, 2017: Chinese-owned SF Motors Agrees to Buy AM General Plant
Jun 272017

AM General

A Chinese-owned, Silicon Valley-headquartered company has announced an agreement to acquire the Mishawaka commercial assembly plant of South Bend-based AM General LLC. SF Motors says it plans to produce “environmentally-friendly, intelligent” electronic vehicles in St. Joseph County. The company is a subsidiary of Chongqing Sokon Industry Group and says it intends to retain the facility’s full current work force and invest $30 million into upgrades.

The plant, which employs around 430 in Mishawaka, is operated independently of AM General’s military assembly plant in the area. MAP operations will not be affected. SF Motors says it is not releasing financial details of the acquisition, but says the only current customer contract at the CAP is slated to expire at year’s end, which would result in the shutdown of a production line. AM General’s website says its commercial operations have assembled more than 1.5 million vehicles in more than 50 years, including the Hummer H1 and H2, Ford Transit Connect Electric, MV-1 paratransit vehicles and Mercedes-Benz R-Class.

SF Motors Chief Executive Officer John Zhang “this transaction represents a unique opportunity to grow our intelligent electric vehicle business through the addition of an existing production facility and a skilled work force. We are excited to work closely with our new Indiana-based team to produce SF Motors’ next-generation electric vehicle in South Bend, Indiana, and we look forward to becoming a part of the local community and a strong contributor to Indiana’s economic growth.”

SF Motors recently set up its North American headquarters in the Silicon Valley and a research and development operation in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The company has ambitious plans in the U.S., which include establishing an EV clean mobility brand based on the West Coast that will source its parts primarily in the U.S. and create a supply chain in the country.

AM General CEO Andy Hove calls SF Motors “the right long-term owner to support the CAP, as well as the South Bend community and the State of Indiana.” He adds “this transaction puts the CAP on solid ground to keep the assembly lines running, providing our tremendously talented and dedicated employees new opportunities as part of SF Motors and its plans to produce next-generation electric vehicles. South Bend has been AM General’s home for nearly 30 years, and following the sale of the CAP, we will maintain our deep ties to the region as we continue to operate our military business, which is profitable, strong, and growing.”

The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter. It is awaiting industry approvals, as well as clearance from regulators in the Unites States and China.

Story Courtesy of Inside Indiana Business/Dan McGowan

June 12, 2017: ACSI Participates in US-China Think Tank Symposium

 Posted by on June 20, 2017  News  Comments Off on June 12, 2017: ACSI Participates in US-China Think Tank Symposium
Jun 202017

CASS Symposium

On June 12, 2017, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences hosted the US-China Think Tank Symposium at the World Food Prize facility in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. The day-long event, which hosted two dozen speakers including former Ambassadors J. Stapleton Roy, Kenneth M. Quinn and Julia Chang Bloch, featured topics on the US-China relationship under the Trump Administration, US-China trade and economic cooperation and the future prospects of cooperation between the world’s two largest economies. ACSI Executive Director, Colin Renk, presented to the Symposium on state/province exchanges and cooperation.

May 9, 2017: ACSI Hosts Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

 Posted by on May 15, 2017  News  Comments Off on May 9, 2017: ACSI Hosts Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
May 152017


On Tuesday, May 9th, ACSI hosted a delegation from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) to Indianapolis. Named the top think tank in Asia by Foreign Policy magazine, the delegation, led by Dr. Wang Lei, met with executives from Indiana University, the International Center and the Office of Mayor Joe Hogsett to discuss collaborative opportunities for engagement and exchanges between China and Indiana.