Investors from China were at a record spending spree in Europe in 2014, investing money in the sectors of the property market from the UK to the Italian energy industry.
The Chinese foreign direct investment in Europe reached US $ 18 billion last year, double the 2013 level, according to rhodium, a research group focused on China. Chinese investors have spent an average of $ 12 billion in the region over the past four years.
According to the research, which was compiled by the law firm Baker & McKenzie, Britain was the main destination for Chinese money with $ 5.1bn in new investments.
The figures suggest that the economic slowdown in China has not hurt China's interests in Europe. By contrast, the domestic situation may have driven the desire to Chinese investors to diversify abroad, according to rhodium.
Europe will welcome the continued strength of Chinese investment, especially FDI from other sources has dried up after the global financial crisis. Since the debt crisis in the eurozone began in 2009, Chinese groups have invested capital in the region, buying world class brands as prices fell because investors fleeing.
economies are based on two factors: Beijing's recent initiatives to abolish most approvals of foreign investment, along with a program of aggressive reform under President Xi Jinping.
"We are now at the stage where we can see that this is a structural trend," said Thilo Hanemann rhodium. "It's a new area and is changing rapidly."
Thomas Gilles, an expert on China, Baker & McKenzie, warned that the scale of Chinese investment in Europe in the coming years will depend on European leaders apply economic reforms to improve the growth prospects of the region.
"The trend will continue, no matter what," said Mr. Gilles. "But the size and shape of Chinese investment will depend on developments in Europe."
During the last decade, 70 percent of Chinese investment in Europe has gone to economies that have emerged relatively unscathed from the financial crisis. But active more recently, Chinese investors have targeted being privatized in weaker European periphery.
This trend has fueled concerns that European countries are selling assets too cheaply. Greece's new government, led by leftist Syriza party, has suspended parts of its privatization program, which has been called a "fire sale".
Rodio said that despite the recent The Chinese appetite for asset fire sales, thrust probably end soon because Chinese investors become more attracted European companies with growth potential in the long term, such as technology companies. The group said that Chinese investments in Europe were also increasingly diverse, with areas such as real estate, food and financial sector growing in popularity.
Since 2000, Britain has easily been the largest recipient of Chinese investment. It has attracted a total of $ 16 billion, compared with $ 8.4bn in Germany, $ 8 billion in France, $ 6.7bn in Portugal and $ 5.6 billion in Italy.
Chinese investors last year found the UK property market particularly attractive. They spent $ 2.6 billion in the sector, including several acquisitions of office space in London. The biggest purchase was Chiswick Park, an office complex in west London, for China Investment Corporation, Beijing's sovereign wealth fund.
Italian companies were the second largest recipient of Chinese investment last year, although this was largely a $ 2.8 billion acquisition in the distribution of CDP Reti, an energy company network holding Italian, by the State Grid Corp, the largest electric utility in Beijing. Italian investments were $ 3.5 billion.
Holland was the third most popular investment destination, with most of the Chinese capital invested in sectors of food and agriculture in the country. Next was Portugal, where three insurance companies received $ 1.3 billion of Chinese supporters. Germany, the largest economy in the eurozone was fifth. Across Europe, 153 transactions other Chinese companies were made in 2014.