CANBERRA • Chinese investment in Australia plunged 40% in 2017 from the year before, according to research released yesterday.
After peaking in 2016 at A$14.9 billion (RM43.68 billion), investment from Chinese companies last year slumped to A$8.9 billion, according to the Australian National University database.
In 2017, Chinese deals in Australia’s mining sector accounted for just over half of the total value of transactions, with the healthcare and social assistance sector at about 15%, according to the database.
While the report doesn’t offer explanations for last year’s steep decline in investment, business relations between the nations have been under increasing pressure due to a diplomatic spat, sparked by concern in Australia about alleged Chinese meddling in government and media. The figures may also reflect Beijing’s decision to implement controls on the outflow of capital.
Earlier this year, Australian exporters blamed strained ties for delays of shipments into China as the nation in June passed sweeping laws against foreign interference, which then-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said was aimed in part at reducing Chinese meddling in national affairs.
Collating data between 2014 and 2017 showed state-owned enterprises accounted for about 47% of total Chinese investment in Australia the university said.
Several planned high-profile investments into Australia by Chinese state-owned companies and others linked to the government in Beijing have been blocked on national security grounds.