Chinese companies conquering the world: A descriptive analysis of the rapid rise of Chinese acquisitions

In this article, we study the global acquisition trends of Chinese companies. We look at the countries and sectors they are investing in and the factors driving those investments. We consider the inflexion points and the changes before and after the Global Financial Crisis. The focus of the paper is the evolution of mergers and acquisitions (M&A), but we also consider greenfield investments and overall outward foreign direct investments. To that end, we use longitudinal data from three sources: the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Standard & Poor’s Capital IQ, and Financial Times fDi Markets. We note that M&A activity was key for the rapid growth and the fast internationalization pace of Chinese companies. While M&A is the entry mode of choice for Chinese firms to approach the developed world (Europe and the U.S.), greenfields are more common for expansion in Asia and Africa. The paper also provides comparisons with data from other emerging markets and the U.S.