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Chinese investments in Australia

Updated: Mar 23,2017 7:37 AM     Xinhua

SYDNEY — Bilateral communication and cooperation between China and Australia have become unprecedentedly deep and broad, Chinese ambassador to Australia Cheng Jingye told Xinhua prior to Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Australia.

But how deep is the cooperation between China and Australia? These facts and figures about the Chinese investment in Australia may give you an idea.

China is Australia’s largest cargo trading partner, the largest source of imports and the largest export destination. Australia is China’s second largest overseas investment destination.

According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, China’s outbound direct investment into Australia in 2016 increased by $3.68 billion, a year-on-year increase of 56.1 percent, exceeding the growth rate of the country’s overall overseas direct investment (ODI).

The key sectors targeted by Chinese investors in Australia covered many fields such as real estate, leasing and business services, transportation, said Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen on Feb 21 at the first China-Australia Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade in Beijing.

Investment in real estate continued to dominate, accounting for $6.85 billion, or 45 percent, of total Chinese ODI in Australia in 2015, according to the KPMG and Sydney University’s latest joint report, Demystifying Chinese Investment in Australia.

Chinese global ODI reached $118 billion in 2015, with Australia as the second most favored foreign country for Chinese investors, after the United States.

After real estate, the sectors most favored by Chinese investors were renewable energy (20 percent), health care (17 percent), mining (9 percent), infrastructure (3 percent), gas and oil (3 percent), and agribusiness (3 percent), according to the report.

“From an industry sector perspective, Chinese investment in Australia now reflects the new normal: China’s focus on middle-class consumption — premium-quality health, lifestyle and services,” the report said.

In fact, Chinese remain by far the biggest group of foreign buyers of Australian property, splashing $24.3 billion in 2014 - 2015 — more than triple the United States and six times the outlay from Singapore, according to the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board annual report.

In the 2015 financial year, the value of approvals for foreign investment in Australian real estate increased 75 per cent to $61 billion, with Chinese accounting for around two-thirds of applications, according to the report.

The bilateral Free Trade Agreement between Australia and China, which was signed on June 17, 2015 and entered into force on Dec 20, 2015, has helped facilitate the trade and investment between the two countries.

“The FTA between China and Australia provides both sides with new mechanisms and platforms for economic and trade cooperation,” Wang said.

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