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U.S. to Attract Up to $400 Billion in China Investment by 2020 with California a Top Target Finds Asia Society Report

AmCham Shanghai/Asia Society conference covers the myths and realities of China FDI in the U.S.

SHANGHAI, Nov. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A new report published today by the Asia Society predicts that the U.S. will attract up to $400 billion new direct investment from China by 2020 and that the State of California in particular will benefit.

Before 2008, annual Chinese direct investment in the United States typically stood well below $1 billion. Since then, Chinese investment in the U.S. has exploded, reaching nearly $2 billion in 2009 and a record $5.8 billion in 2010. In the first three quarters of 2012, Chinese firms completed transactions worth $6.3 billion, setting the stage for a new record year for Chinese investment in the United States.

California is the top target for Chinese investment in the U.S -- it has attracted more investment projects from China than any other U.S. state. Chinese investment in California is growing at triple-digit levels and could reach $60 billion by 2020 -- if the state and private sector, in partnership with the U.S. government, do a better job working together to attract Chinese capital, according to Daniel H. Rosen and Thilo Hanemann of the Rhodium Group, authors of Chinese Direct Investment in California. The report's global launch took place at a joint AmCham Shanghai and Asia Society conference on the growing trend of Chinese investment in the U.S. 

Compared to the rest of the U.S., Chinese investment in California is disproportionately from private rather than state-owned enterprises, greenfield rather than M&As, and is strongest in high-tech and the service sector -- areas that the Chinese government and private sector have targeted for accelerated growth.

"California has been the leading edge of America's Asian economic engagement for nearly 200 years, so it is not surprising that the state is one step ahead when it comes to hosting direct investments from China," says Daniel H. Rosen, one of the authors of the report. "What is more surprising is just how much further the Golden State can benefit from China's new commercial outflows if it gets serious about courting them." 

"California's private sector has been a strong leader in bringing Chinese investment to the state," says Jack Wadsworth, Co-Chairman of Asia Society Northern California. "We need state government to make the same commitment, and efforts from ChinaSF and GO-Biz are steps in the right direction."

Commenting on the importance of Chinese investment to the larger U.S. economy, Brenda Foster, president of AmCham Shanghai said, "The U.S. is one of the world's most open markets for investment and China is an increasingly important source of FDI.  Initiatives like today's conference are critical to communicating a welcoming environment to potential Chinese investors and to educating U.S. states, such as California, on what can be done to attract more investment from China."

Among the report's policy recommendations presented at the Conference:

  • Understand California's value to China. The state's economy is the largest in the U.S. It has strong competitive advantages in high-tech sectors like software, IT, electronics, and cleantech. The state has long ties with China and has one of the most highly educated, multi-cultural workforces in the world.
  • Target the right Chinese firms. High-tech firms in China seek what their California counterparts have: technology, know-how, and market experience. This is also true for high-value services in China seeking to move up the value chain. The Chinese government has identified exactly these areas as priorities for future economic growth.
  • Step up the state's investment promotion efforts. Continued growth of Chinese investment is not foreordained. Competition from other states, and nations, is intensifying, and the traditional hands-off approach is outdated and inadequate. The new GO-Biz office is an encouraging development, and more must be done to support innovative local initiatives such as ChinaSF in San Francisco.
  • Lead the way to help resolve national anxieties over China. Growth in China's U.S. direct investment has rekindled old arguments about foreign firms and the national interest. While security screening for foreign investments is both necessary and legitimate, concerns can be politicized for protectionist ends. California has more self-interest than any other state to step up and contribute to solutions based on its experience with successful, and failed, deals and a sophisticated understanding of cutting-edge industries.

The report's global release, including a full Chinese-language version of the report, took place on November 15 in Shanghai and on November 16 in Beijing.  The report was released in the United States on October 10 in San Francisco and October 11 in Los Angeles. For further information and to download the report, please visit


Asia Society is the leading educational organization dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among peoples, leaders and institutions of Asia and the United States in a global context. Across the fields of arts, business, culture, education, and policy, the Society provides insight, generates ideas, and promotes collaboration to address present challenges and create a shared future. Founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller 3rd, Asia Society is a nonpartisan, nonprofit institution with headquarters in New York and centers in Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Manila, Mumbai, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, and Washington, DC. (


The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, known as the "Voice of American Business" in China, is the largest and fastest growing American Chamber in the Asia Pacific region.  Founded in 1915, AmCham Shanghai was the third American Chamber established outside the United States. As a non-profit, non-partisan business organization, AmCham Shanghai is committed to the principles of free trade, open markets, private enterprise and the unrestricted flow of information. (


Rhodium Group combines policy experience, quantitative economic tools, and on-the-ground research to analyze disruptive global trends. Its work supports the investment management, strategic planning, and policy needs of the financial, corporate, government, and not-for-profit sectors. Rhodium Group is based in New York City, with associates in Washington, D.C., Shanghai, and New Delhi. (


SOURCE The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and the Asia Society

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