The Lowy Institute, an Australian think tank, has been doing some polling in China.
It discovered that the resistance of some countries, such as the US and Australia, to Chinese takeovers is matched in China by a distrust of foreign investment.
Asked how they would feel if companies controlled by five different governments tried to buy a controlling stake in a major Chinese firm, the answer was clear.
A Singaporean takeover was the only takeover to win majority support, with 56% of respondents thinking that it would be a good thing.
That’s no surprise. Many Singaporeans can speak Mandarin, and there is plenty of shared culture between the two countries. And of course, there are plenty of similarities between the authoritarian, if nominally democratic Singaporean government and the Chinese government.
Canada won 45% support, which is tribute, as Mark Rowswell or Dashan put it, to the fact that Canadians are generally seen by Chinese as "the least irritating foreigners". Australia wins a surprising 41% of support, while the US gets just 20% and Japan a predictable 14%.
On the one hand, the poll appears to confirm that the Chinese are, as several Chambers of Commerce keep saying here in Shanghai, the most protectionist of all. Indeed, the constant rejection by the Chinese of any sizeable foreign takeover makes the protestation of global protectionism from the Commerce ministry utterly laughable.
However, the poll is also a bit redundant. Simply because there aren’t any state-owned companies in Australia, the US or Canada who are ever likely to look to expand in China.