Canada is on the Radar of Chinese Investors, but Not Seen as Destination of Choice

Vancouver, BC – November 4, 2013 – Canada ranks ninth as a destination for investment by Chinese companies, according to a survey released today by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APF Canada,, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) and the Jack Austin Centre for Asia Pacific Business Studies at Simon Fraser University (SFU). Six percent of Chinese firms picked Canada for their future foreign direct investment, while 35 percent chose the United States and 16 percent chose Germany.

The China Goes Global 2013 survey was launched today during the China Goes Global Symposium held at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue at SFU in Vancouver. The symposium was supported by the Canada-China Chamber of Commerce, the Canada-China Business Council, China Gold International Resources and McMillan LLP.

Since 2006, Canada has witnessed a rapid growth of Chinese outward investment in Canada. However, despite this rapid growth, the investments remain small compared to investments in Canada from other major players. In 2012, Chinese OFDI in Canada stood at C $12 billion, representing only a small fraction (2 percent) of total FDI in Canada. In contrast, FDI from the United States in Canada totalled C $326 billion, or 51.5 percent. Currently, Chinese investments, primarily dominated by Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs), are focused on Canadian energy and resource projects.

“Despite recent large inflows of Chinese investment, we cannot take for granted that Canada is an attractive destination for Chinese companies, whether state-owned enterprises or private companies," said Mr. Yuen Pau Woo, President and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. "The scale of Chinese outward investment in the coming decade will be massive. Canada has to compete for its share, and this will require concerted effort from different levels of government as well as from the business community."

"The two biggest sectors of Chinese investment overseas are manufacturing and trade," said Dr. Zhang Wei, Vice-Chairman of CCPIT. "In Canada, however, Chinese investors are showing expanding interest in Canada's energy, agriculture, infrastructure and other sectors. Once the bilateral investment treaty is approved, it will add further momentum."

Some of the key findings from the report include:

• Compared with non-SOE firms, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are more likely to invest in overseas markets. 45 percent of SOEs indicated that they had invested abroad, compared with 33 percent of non-SOEs.

• SOEs are likely to make larger investments than non-SOEs. 42 percent of SOEs invested more than US $10 million, double the percentage of non-SOEs.

• The respondents listed upgrading their own brand in the international market, making use of “going global” policy-related incentives, and taking advantage of preferential investment policies in the host country as the top three most important drivers of their OFDI decisions.

• The respondents listed the fluctuation of major currencies, followed by the fluctuation in crude oil and raw material prices as the most significant risks to overseas investment.

• Although Chinese OFDI is growing, some 39 percent indicated that their offshore investments are less than 5 percent of their total corporate investments.

• East and Southeast Asia are considered to be the most important regions for companies’ internationalization, followed by the EU and North America.

• The major obstacles to companies’ internationalization were a low level of international cooperation (53.2 percent) and a lack of management talent (53.1 percent).

The full results of the survey are available here.

"I think the next few years will be crucial in achieving regulatory clarity on foreign investments into Canada, understanding and informing public opinion, and, finding mutually supportive ways for Canadian and Chinese businesses to work together towards a better future for both societies, “ said Sudeer Gupta, Director of the Jack Austin Centre for Asia Pacific Business Studies at SFU.

The survey was conducted between February and June 2013. In total, 1,056 firms answered most or part of the questionnaire—a response rate of 35%. After dropping respondents that are foreign-owned companies in China, we include 962 respondents of Chinese firms in the analysis of this report.

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About APF Canada

The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada is an independent, not-for-profit think tank on Canada’s relations with Asia. APF Canada brings together people and knowledge to provide current and comprehensive research, analysis and information on Canada’s transpacific relations.

For additional information, please contact:

Trang Nguyen
Programme Manager, Networks and Current Affairs
Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada
Tel: 604-323-6781

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