BEIJING — Chinese mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in ASEAN countries soared in 2017 despite a slump in overall outbound investment, thanks largely to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), according to a report.
In 2017, the deal value of Chinese M&As in ASEAN surged to $34.1 billion, rising by 268 percent and representing a quarter of the total value of disclosed Chinese M&As, accounting firm Ernst & Young (EY) said in a report.
“Taking advantage of its geographic location as a trade hub under the BRI, ASEAN has achieved steady growth in recent years,” said Andrew Choy, EY’s Greater China International Tax Services Leader.
Looking forward, China and ASEAN are expected to further improve their relationship and expand broader cooperation under the BRI, Choy said.
Proposed by China in 2013, the BRI aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along ancient Silk Road trade routes.
Singapore has become China’s biggest M&A destination in 2017 as M&A activities by Chinese enterprises surged, mainly in transportation, technology, telecommunications and life sciences sectors, according to the report.
Situated along the Belt and Road, Malaysia and Indonesia offer plenty of investment opportunities, and both countries have offered incentives to attract foreign investment, the report said.
China’s outbound direct investment (ODI) saw a drastic decline in 2017 amid government efforts to curb irrational overseas investment.
Data from the Ministry of Commerce showed that nonfinancial ODI fell 29.4 percent year on year to $120 billion last year.
Nonfinancial ODI in countries involved in the BRI totaled $14.36 billion, accounting for 12 percent of the total, up from 8.5 percent in 2016.