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Outbound Chinese Capital Slows, HNA Pumps Brakes On M&A Activity Amid Scrutiny

There was a marked decline in capital leaving China in the first half of the year as regulators increased their scrutiny of major foreign buyers.


Outbound Chinese capital in the first six months of this year was down 45.8% to $48.2B compared to the same period in 2016, the Ministry of Commerce reported Thursday. Last month alone, foreign spending levels declined by 11.3% to $13.6B. 

Chinese companies spent record levels of capital on foreign assets last year, piquing regulators’ interest, Bloomberg reports. The Chinese government limited major companies' foreign spending as a result, and has asked the country’s banks to provide details on loans to Dalian Wanda, Fosun, HNA and Anbang — some of China’s biggest spenders. According to reports, they want to find out how much debt these companies have used to fund massive acquisition sprees, and to determine if they are overleveraged and pose a threat to the financial system. 

HNA Group Co. is taking a large step back in its foreign investment activity, tabling its mergers and acquisition deals for now, people familiar with its activity told the Wall Street Journal. In addition to the temporary hold, the major overseas buyer is considering fewer deals going forward.