China to crack down on 'irrational' foreign investment
Main page News, China

Chinese business leaders have been warned about investing abroad with Commerce Minister Zhong Shan lashing companies over deals in sports and entertainment that "didn't bring much benefit to China".

The comments came in the wake of news that a $1 billion deal by real estate giant Dalian Wanda to buy Dick Clark Productions, which produces the Golden Globe Awards, had collapsed.

Last year Chinese firms spent a record $225 billion on foreign investments but the minister's comments suggest Beijing has concerns about the amounts of cash leaving the country.

At an annual meeting of China's congress on Saturday Mr Zhong was scathing of "blind and irrational investment" that he said "had a negative impact on our national image".

"Some are not in line with our requirements and policies for overseas investment, such as in sports, entertainment and clubs," he said. "This didn't bring much benefit to China and caused some complaints overseas."

He said a small number of firms would come under increased scrutiny but did not elaborate on what that entailed.

It follows a move last year by the government to stem the flow of money out of the country by requiring banks to obtain special approval to move more than $5 million abroad.

Banks were also reportedly told not to send more money overseas than they bring in.

Mr Zhong's comments are being viewed by some as another attempt to prevent ongoing capital flight by dressing it up as a measure aimed at promoting responsible investment.

More than $500 billion reportedly left the country in the months after the stock market plunged in the summer of 2015, leading Beijing to enforce previously ignored rules on money transfers in February 2016.

However, the Chinese government still remains committed to foreign investment with its sovreign wealth fund, the China Investment Corporation, reportedly purchasing a 10 percent stake in Airbnb for $133 million.

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