The value of Chinese investment in Australia collapsed last year in the face of tougher scrutiny by Canberra, a breakdown in bilateral relations and a global downturn in foreign investment owing to the pandemic, reported the Financial Times.
New data show Chinese investment fell 61% to A$1 billion ($780 million) in 2020, down from A$2.6 billion a year earlier and a peak in 2016 of A$16.5 billion. The year 2016 was a high point in Sino-Australian ties that coincided with a free trade deal. In contrast, just 20 transactions were recorded in 2020.
Chinese investment in 2020 was limited to just three sectors — real estate, mining and manufacturing — a big shift compared with previous years when activity spanned all industries, according to a database tracking Chinese investment managed by Australian National University.
“This is quite a remarkable story when you think that Australia was the largest destination of Chinese investment globally during the height of the commodities boom,” Shiro Armstrong, director of the East Asian Bureau of Economic Research at ANU told the Financial Times. “We received much more investment than the US, and that has just collapsed.”