By Dasha Afanasieva
Europe is a likely suitor for much of the $560 billion in outbound foreign direct investment China plans to make in the five years leading to 2015, according to a survey out today.
Ninety-seven percent of the 74 firms surveyed said that they will make future additional investments in the EU, with most planning to invest higher amounts than currently, with more investment and acquisitions of technology brands and expertise, according to a study by European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, a lobby group for Chinese firms in the EU, with consultants Roland Berger and professional services firm KPMG.
In return for access to European markets and consumers, EU countries will get a boost in investment that they can ill afford themselves with such feeble growth prospects: in November the European Commission slashed its 2013 economic growth forecast for the EU’s euro zone bloc to just 0.1 percent, having predicted a much stronger recovery of 1 percent just six months before.
Chinese firms see the EU as a:
safe and stable place to invest, with a transparent and predictable legal environment, social stability, trusted brands, advanced technologies and an educated workforce
But getting your head around European laws and visa restrictions, as well as the fear that tough economic times could spark more political instability, make Europe hard to navigate for Chinese firms.