2.4 Chinese investment was more evenly spread between sectors though infrastructure and ICT remained top targets
Chinese investment in Europe was more diverse in 2020 than the previous year, when more than 70 percent of it went into consumer products and services and ICT. The more even distribution profile was due mainly to the smaller average size of Chinese investments.
In 2020, the top target was the transportation, construction, and infrastructure sector, with 25 percent of the total (see Exhibit 6). The largest transaction was GLP’s acquisition of the Goodman Group’s warehouse portfolio in Central and Eastern Europe; it included transactions in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and the Czech Republic totaling roughly 1 billion EUR. Other high-value investments included CRCC’s EUR 243 million acquisition of construction firm Aldesa and China Three Gorges’ EUR 229 million purchase of an additional stake in energy provider EDP.
Nonetheless, the ICT sector remained popular, attracting 18 percent of the total. The striking feature of in 2020 was how much ICT investment was channeled into greenfield purchases; major examples include the already mentioned Huawei R&D centers in the UK and Hungary, and ByteDance’s TikTok data center in Ireland.
Electronics was the third largest sector by investment value. Transactions included: Universal Scientific Industrial’s acquisition of French Asteelflash Group (EUR 395 million), and Jiangsu Riying Electronics’ acquisition of Elektromechanische Schaltsensoren EMS GmbH in Germany (EUR 171 million).