Squeezed between falling profits and the credit crunch, a growing number of troubled corporations and countries are turning to cash-rich China for a bailout. And with foreign assets cheaper than they have been for years, Beijing is going on an international spending spree.
“The international financial crisis … is equally a challenge and an opportunity,” China’s energy czar, Zhang Guobao, wrote recently in the official newspaper People’s Daily. “The slowdown … has reduced the price of international energy resources and assets and favors our search for overseas resources.”
So far, the government has concentrated on natural-resource deals, securing supplies of oil and minerals in return for large amounts of cash. But private Chinese firms are also taking advantage of the crisis in other sectors: Diesel-engine giant Weichai Power is expected to buy a French plant that GM is selling off in its struggle to survive.