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Euro debt crisis 'creates opportunities'   2012-02-09 13:02:43


Lenovo Group exhibits products at the Berlin Exhibition Center. Ministry of Commerce officials say Chinese companies see opportunities to buy assets in Europe amid the debt crisis there, which has led to an economic slowdown and high unemployment. (Photo: Xinhua)

More cash-rich Chinese manufacturers will surge into debt-stricken European nations as the spreading economic and financial crisis creates buying opportunities, said officials from the Ministry of Commerce.

"Chinese companies see attractive opportunities to buy assets in Europe because of the debt problems that have led to an economic slowdown and high unemployment," said Sun Yongfu, head of the ministry's department of European affairs.

Sun spoke on Wednesday at the 2012 Diplomats Economic Forum, which had the theme "the global economic situation and Chinese enterprises' globalization".

Companies "from the manufacturing sector that enjoy industrial competitiveness" will lead the coming acquisition wave, Sun said.

Figures from the ministry show that in 2011, China's investment in the European Union surged 94.1 percent to $4.28 billion, compared with 1.8 percent growth in the nation's total outbound direct investment (ODI).

Sun said he was very optimistic about growth in 2012. "We have seen a good start. Probably it (growth) will be strong," Sun said.

Europe could be a driving force for China's ODI growth this year, he added.

The most recent major deal in Europe was initiated by the Chinese construction equipment maker Sany Heavy Industry Co Ltd, which announced it would pay 324 million euros ($426 million) to buy 90 percent of Putzmeister, Germany's largest concrete pump maker.

With the nation having become a leading world manufacturer, many Chinese industries - including machinery and vehicles - have achieved global competitiveness, and it is an opportune time for them to venture into Europe, where many companies are starved for money, Sun said.

During the past year, as the European debt crisis escalated, there have been many high-level calls from the continent, including France and Germany, welcoming Chinese investment.

During a visit to China last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: "Germany is a country that is open to all. We warmly welcome investment from China."

Premier Wen Jiabao said during Merkel's visit that China would consider how to get "more deeply involved" in resolving Europe's debt crisis.

"European nations now welcome Chinese investment and they are usually relaxed about transferring technology to Chinese companies. The general picture is comparatively favorable," Sun said.

source : China Daily     editor:: Ma Ting
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