订阅

多平台阅读

微信订阅

杂志

申请纸刊赠阅

订阅每日电邮

移动应用

商业

美国对中国:请投资我们的债务,不要投资我们的公司

Nin-Hai Tseng 2011年02月23日

Rhodium Group公司估计,2010年,中国公司共斥资49亿美元,用于收购美国公司或在美国开设分支机构。

    华盛顿的立法者们一直抓住人民币币值问题不放,对之进行穷追猛打。现在,由于世界第二大经济——中国希望扩大海外投资,未来几年内,这一问题可能“退居二线”。

    在1978年开始经济改革之前,中国实际上根本不存在对外直接投资。而到2007年,中国全球投资的年度规模已达近250亿美元。到了2008年,又翻了一番,超过了500亿美元的大关。2009年,全球经济衰退最严重时,其投资额也随之下降,但是很快又于2010年反弹至565亿美元。

    尽管中国2010年的投资中,绝大多数并非针对美国,但中国收购美国公司,仍很大程度上挫伤了美国政府的士气。最近,出于国家安全的考虑,美国一个致力研究于跨国交易的专家小组提议,中国电信厂商华为公司应该放弃三叶系统公司(3Leaf Systems)。三叶系统是家位于旧金山湾地区的小型高科技公司,去年5月,华为出价200万美元将之收至麾下。

    该建议传递的信息再清楚不过:虽然中国投资9千亿美元购买美国国库券,令美国政府感到欣慰,但中国以200万美元收购美国公司,却令后者陷入了极度恐惧之中。

    华盛顿立法者们的敌对态度并非什么新鲜事。而且,这种反对之声只会进一步高涨,因为未来几年内,中国预计会继续扩大对外直接投资,以继续发展多元化经济,而不再仅仅依赖出口。Rhodium Group公司估计,2010年,中国公司共斥资49亿美元,用于收购美国公司或在美国开设分支机构,2009年,相应的数字是28亿美元。其中,用于工业机械的投资名列首位,其次是电子设备、公用事业服务以及煤、石油和天然气。

    “这仅仅是开始。” Rhodium Group的负责人丹尼尔•罗森表示。“我们可以断言,中国不断加大对美国公司和资产的投资,会引起美国政府的担忧,并进而导致两国关系趋于紧张。”

    我们不禁充满好奇:与中国这个即将在2025年超越美国的经济体做生意,采取这种论调是否合适?

一系列中途夭折的交易

    2005年,中国三大国有石油公司之一的中国海洋石油公司(China National Offshore Oil Corporation)计划收购美国优尼科公司(Unocal Corporation),但由于美国政府出于对国家安全的担忧,而引发了一场政治风暴,致使中海油最终改变了初衷。最近的一起事件发生于去年11月,在一宗价值高达几十亿美元的交易中,Sprint Nextel公司将华为排除在外,很大程度上也是出于国家安全的考虑。《华尔街日报》(The Wall Street Journal)援引知情人士的话对此事进行了报道。

    但是,月有阴晴圆缺,其他美中交易迄今都进展相对顺利。去年10月,中海油斥资11亿美元,在切萨皮克能源公司(Chesapeake Energy)在南得克萨斯的鹰滩页岩项目中分一杯羹。另据《华尔街日报》报道,中国光明食品公司(China's Bright Food Group Co)斥资25~30亿美元,收购美国维生素零售连锁企业健安喜(GNC Holdings Inc.),目前该交易已近尾声。[欲深入了解美中交易的这一发展趋势,请参阅去年《财富》的封面报道《美国制造,中国所有》(American made...Chinese owned)]

    值得一提的是,中国最大的电信网络设备厂商华为,一直以来都不遗余力地想扩大在美国的规模。美国官员已经明确表示对以下问题感到担忧:华为与中国政府关系密切,以及其电话网络是否会引发国家安全风险;原因在于,华为由前中国军官任正非创建于1988年。但是,很显然,华为不会轻言放弃,至少在发出最后的奋力一搏之前不会。日前,美国外国投资委员会(U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment)要求华为主动放弃收购三叶公司的200万美元交易,遭到了拒绝。华为表示将等待奥巴马总统对此问题进行表态。奥巴马政府有15天的时间,针对跨国交易研究小组的建议,阐明自己的立场。

    不管美国政府做出何种抉择,也不管担忧国家安全多么天经地义,华为一案传递出的信息是,美国政府已对中国资本开始心怀恐惧。

    但是,这类信息不利于美国吸引中国资本,InterChina Consulting的北美总监大卫•霍夫曼表示。InterChina Consulting是家小型管理咨询公司,专注于为在中国做生意的外国公司提供战略、企业以及人力资源服务。

    “最终,还是由中国人决定是否增加对美国的投资。”霍夫曼表示。

    事实上,尽管过去几年内,中国的对外投资大幅增长,但其中大部分都集中在拉丁美洲和亚洲,霍夫曼介绍说。只有约3%~4%的中国对外投资流向了美国。

    美国可以主动邀请更多中国资本进入美国,但那样的话,美国政府很可能会要求保有相当的控制权。而尽管中国这只亚洲虎手里可能拥有大量资本要投向海外,但是由于目前它尚缺乏管理和法律专业知识,因此它仍在学习如何在美国市场上如鱼得水。

    译者:大海

    Washington lawmakers have been griping about the value of China's yuan, but that issue is likely to take a backseat in the coming years as the world's second-largest economy looks to invest more abroad.

    Chinese outward direct investment was virtually nonexistent prior to economic reforms that began in 1978. By 2007, the annual volume of its global investments grew to around $25 billion, then doubled to more than $50 billion in 2008. Investments dropped off in 2009 during the height of the global economic recession, but rebounded to an estimated $56.5 billion in 2010.

    Though the vast majority of China's 2010 investment was outside of the U.S., there's plenty of frustration in Washington over the East Asian Tiger buying up American companies. Recently, amid national security concerns, a U.S. panel that reviews cross-border deals recommended that China's telecommunications maker Huawei divest itself of 3Leaf Systems, a small Bay Area technology company that it acquired for $2 million in May.

    The message is clear: U.S. officials are happy to take China's $900 billion investment in Treasuries, but they greatly fear a $2 million corporate takeover.

    The opposition arising from Washington lawmakers is nothing new. And it's bound to grow -- China's outward direct investments are forecast to rise in the coming years as the country looks to continue diversifying its economy beyond exports. In 2010 Chinese firms spent $4.9 billion on acquisitions and new facilities in the U.S., up from $2.8 billion in 2009, according to estimates from Rhodium Group. Investments in industrial machinery and equipment topped the list, followed by electronic equipment, utility services and coal, oil and gas.

    "This is just the beginning," says Daniel Rosen, a principal of the New York City-based consultancy specialized in China's economy. "We can say for certain that growing Chinese investment in U.S. companies and assets will be a source of anxiety and tension."

    It's hard not to wonder if this is in fact the right tone for doing business with an economy poised to top the U.S. by 2025.

A history of dead deals

    In 2005, China National Offshore Oil Corporation, one of the country's three major state-owned oil companies, withdrew plans to take over U.S.-based Unocal Corporation following a political firestorm over national security concerns. And as recently as November, Sprint Nextel (S, Fortune 500) excluded Huawei from a contract valued at billions of dollars largely because of national-security concerns, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

    Other U.S.-China deals have seen better success, however. In October, CNOOC paid $1.1 billion for a stake in Chesapeake Energy's (CHK, Fortune 500) Eagle Ford shale project in South Texas. And China's Bright Food Group Co. is reportedly close to a deal to buy U.S. vitamin retail chain GNC Holdings Inc. for between $2.5 billion to $3 billion, according to the Journal. (For more on this trend, see last year's Fortune cover story "American made...Chinese owned.")

    Huawei, China's largest telecom networker, has particularly struggled to expand here. U.S. officials have expressed concerns of the company's close ties to the government and whether its phone networks pose national security risks -- it was founded in 1988 by former Chinese army officer Ren Zhengfei. But it appears Huawei is not going away -- at least not without a fight. On Monday, the company resisted calls by the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment to divest itself from its $2 million deal with 3Leaf, saying it will await President Obama's word on the issue. The administration has 15 days to take a stand on the panel's recommendation.

    Whatever the decision and however warranted the national security concerns, the deal appears to be sending the message that Chinese capital is to be viewed with fear.

    This kind of message doesn't help the U.S. lure capital from China, says David Hofmann, North America director for InterChina Consulting, a boutique management consultancy specializing in strategy, corporate and human resources services for companies doing business in China.

    "At the end of the day it's the perception on the Chinese side that will drive additional investment in the U.S.," Hofmann says.

    Indeed, although China's outward investment has grown considerably over the past few years, much of the growth is concentrated in Latin America and Asia, Hofmann says. Roughly about 3% to 4% of Chinese outward investment goes into the U.S.

    The U.S. can choose to invite more Chinese capital but that will probably require considerable handholding. The Asian tiger might have lots of capital to invest abroad, but given its shortage of managerial and legal expertise, China is still learning how to maneuver its way through the American marketplace.

我来点评

  最新文章

最新文章:

500强情报中心

财富专栏