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Dubious overseas investors face blacklisting, economic regulator says

Wang Yanfei
Updated: Sep 14,2017 7:22 AM     China Daily

China will blacklist enterprises violating overseas investment rules as the country strengthens efforts to curb what has been some irrational and unauthentic offshore buying activities, according to a senior official of the nation’s top economic regulator, who has firsthand knowledge of the matter.

Blacklisted enterprises will not be banned from making overseas investments, but will be punished as they become “discreditable” to regulators, according to Zhang Huanteng, a senior official with the National Development and Reform Commission, the agency in charge of approving enterprises’ outbound investments.

Information regarding what types of enterprises will be blacklisted and how they will be punished is expected to be released to the public next month, Zhang said.

The blacklist will be shared across different government departments to help regulators oversee future investment activities of the enterprises, according to Zhang.

The move is in line with the government’s measures begun late last year aimed at ensuring authenticity of outbound investment and to control risks.

Targeted industries mainly include property, hotels, entertainment, cinemas and sports clubs, according to a guideline released by the State Council, China’s Cabinet, in August.

Some enterprises, using money borrowed from domestic banks, swarmed abroad to buy various assets, such as soccer clubs, and analysts said some of the deals may involve money laundering.

The government’s tightened scrutiny of overseas investments has started to bite.

In the first seven months, China’s non financial outbound direct investment fell by 44.3 percent year-on-year, meaning there had been less such irrational outbound investment, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Bai Ming, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said the move to blacklist enterprises shows that the government is using a more effective approach to oversee investment.

“The blacklisting, as a precautionary step to fend off future risks, improves the government’s efficiency,” he said. “It helps different government regulators keep track of dubious companies engaged in overseas investment.”