One of the protagonists of globalization in the past decade has been China. Its economic and financial footprint has deepened across the globe, and its companies are active in all industries, with few countries left untouched by such interest. A key instrument in this expansion are mergers and acquisitions (M&A) projects pursued by Chinese companies, many of which are focused on technologically advanced, and thus politically sensitive, businesses in Western countries. This expansion is fueled in large part by China’s Go Global strategy, initiated in 1999, and, more recently, the Made in China 2025 campaign. The US has drawn considerable interest from Chinese companies since the 2010s, many of which are aimed to buy into key American businesses.
This working paper discusses Chinese M&A activities in the US during this period, focusing on the political obstacles and regulatory difficulties they encounter. In so doing, the study demonstrates that the American M&A market showed more receptivity towards Chinese projects in the first half of the 2010s, while it became more politically charged after 2016, in large part due to the steady deterioration of ties between Beijing and Washington. The case of TikTok and other high-profile Chinese businesses are used to illustrate these developments.
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