China’s outbound investment shows no signs of abatement as enterprises take their chances offshore, writes Joanna law

Slowdown? What slowdown? In the first half of 2015, a total of 281 outbound merger and acquisition (M&A) deals were recorded, according to Appleby’s latest analysis. The figure was almost as many as there were in all of 2013. As of 10 May this year, Chinese outbound M&A deals totalled US$111 billion, surpassing the full total for 2015 of US$108 billion, according to Swiss-based investment bank UBS, citing figures from Dealogic.

“Publicly declared Chinese outbound M&A deals look set to increase in size and number, as the government’s ‘going out’ and ‘One Belt One Road’ policies continue to gain momentum, facilitating rapid expansion of Chinese enterprises internationally,” observes Frances Woo, managing partner of Appleby in Hong Kong.

As Chinese regulators have loosened their grip on outbound investment, Kristy Calvert, partner and chief representative of Harneys in Shanghai, has seen that in recent years, “private Chinese companies in various industries have also begun investing overseas rapidly, including in real estate, paper, printing and packaging, chemicals, hotels and tourism, software and IT services, and communications”.

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