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From hotels to agrochemicals, China Inc. is on a spending spree abroad

IT WAS ONLY a matter of time. Given the trade surpluses China has built up year after year, its strengthening currency and its lengthening roster of globally ambitious companies, it’s no surprise that the wave of Chinese foreign direct investment in major Western economies has arrived.

WHY NOT? China’s Anbang Insurance Group’s $14 billion bid for Starwood Hotels and Resorts was abruptly dropped at the end of March.

In the first quarter of 2016, Chinese companies have executed or proposed deals worth $100 billion for foreign assets across a range of industries (twice the amount U.S. companies have paid for foreign assets abroad over the same period). Among the highest-profile deals: ChemChina offered $43 billion for Swiss agrochemicals giant Syngenta, Haier paid $5.4 billion for General Electric’s appliance business and conglomerate HNA group bought electronics distribution giant Ingram Micro. Others are almost surely coming. E-commerce giant Alibaba, to take one example, is said to be sniffing around in the entertainment and technology space.

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