Project Description

Credit: IE/Alexia Barakou


Does Chinese investment in Europe come at too high a price?

September 16th, 2019

Credits: Art Direction & Motion Graphics Design: Alexia Barakou Sound design: Panagiotis Papagiannopoulos & Alexis Koukias-Pantelis Narration: Pavlos Zafiropoulos

Chinese Major Investments in Europe

Only the Chinese investments in the European Union, Norway and Switzerland since 2009 have been counted, for which investors have paid at least 100 million US dollars. The information is based on a data collection of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), which has been checked as far as possible and supplemented with information from other sources. Some investors have resold the acquired shares (or parts thereof) and this has not been recorded in all cases. Sources: AEI/Institute of the German Economy/Swiss Commercial Register CRIF/Company details


The rise of China to an economic superpower poses a strategic dilemma for European governments. The 1.4 billion-people empire in the Far East has become an indispensable part of its economy, as a sales market as well as investor. But with an increasingly bitter trade war between the US and China, Europe is finding itself caught in the middle without a clear and united policy on how it deals with Chinese investment.

For this the Chinese in Europe wisely exploit the failures of our governments and actually help regions and countries in need. Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in the European Union has increased by almost 50 times in only eight years (see above map).

But to what extent is this economic interdependence used by the Chinese government to serve, not only economic but also geostrategic purposes, buying political influence through investment.

As Chinese globalisation continues apace, IE asks, is this good for Europe or does it come at too high a price?

IE reporters travelled Europe from Portugal up to the nordic outskirts of Norwegian Kirkenes and found answers that might contradict a few of your expectations.

Stay tuned for publications from all over Europe in the coming weeks.

China eyes Norway as first port of call in Europe on ‘Arctic Silk Road’

What do you get if you mix a fervent mayor, a shipping pioneer, a melting Arctic, China’s interests and the world’s third largest container company? Plans for an “Arctic Rotterdam” in Kirkenes, northern Norway. IE member Ingeborg Eliassen travelled north to find out more.

Read her article: China eyes Norway as first port of call in Europe on ‘Arctic Silk Road’

Don’t speak out!

Part of our investigation on Chinese investors in Europe looked at how China is silencing critics of its human rights violations (labelled as “internal affairs”) through economic and political pressure – even in Europe.

IE member Nico Schmidt documented how politicians get unpleasant visits, how minorities are spied on and how CEOs of global companies have to bow to pressure.

Read his article: Don’t speak out!

Europe’s Hypocrisy

During the euro crisis, EU governments put pressure on countries such as Greece and Portugal to sell critical infrastructure to Chinese companies – and now preach the opposite.

Read the op-ed by IE member Paulo Pena on this hypocrisy – and his related scoop on the shady circumstances of the sale of Portuguese electricity companies to Chinese investors.

Media Partners

La lunga mano del Dragone: dove finiscono i 300 miliardi dei cinesi
“La lunga mano del Dragone: dove finiscono i 300 miliardi dei cinesi”
“The long reach of the Dragon: where the Chinese 300 billion end up”
“Relazioni pericolose: gli affari e i ricatti politici e diplomatici”
“Dangerous relationships: political and diplomatic business and blackmail”
“Hoe Europa reageert op het groeiend aantal Chinese investeringen”
“How Europe responds to the growing number of Chinese investments”
“UiB får kritikk for bånd til omstridt kinesisk språkinstitutt”
“Others cut ties to Chinese language institute, while the University of Bergen holds on”
“Forskere frykter for etikk og sensur i samarbeid med Kina”
“Academics fear for ethics and censorship in cooperation with China”

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