Chinese investment in Australia plummets in 2020 amid tensions

Chinese investment in Australia fell by 61 per cent in 2020 to the lowest level recorded by the Australian National University in six years, coinciding with a worsening diplomatic dispute.
  • Value of deals fell by more than 60 per cent, according to Australian National University study
  • Coronavirus and tougher Australian scrutiny propelled fall, researcher says

The annual tracking study from the university’s East Asian Bureau of Economic Research recorded A$1 billion (US$783 million) of Chinese investment in 2020, consisting of real estate (45 per cent), mining (40 per cent) and manufacturing (15 per cent) deals.

The fall was bigger than the 42 per cent decrease in foreign direct investment globally measured by the United Nations amid the Covid-19 pandemic, said Shiro Armstrong, the bureau director.

“It reflects the effects of Covid but also more scrutiny of foreign investment by the Australian government, particularly that from China,” he said.

Australia announced a shake-up of its foreign investment laws in 2020 to give the government the power to veto, or force the sale of a business if it created a national security risk.


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