China Prepares Massive Investments in Crimea

China intends to invest in massive projects in Crimea less than a month after the former Ukrainian province was annexed by the Russian Federation.

Vladimir Chizhov, Russia’s ambassador to the European Union, said Russia is partnering with China in two major Crimean projects:  the “Power of Siberia” gas pipeline and a 25 meter deep Crimean deep water port. These projects will continue despite the ongoing crisis in the Ukraine, Chizhov said.

Chizhov described the “Power of Siberia” gas pipeline as a mega-project that will pump 60 billion cubic meters of gas annually from the Kovykta and Tchayandinskoe gas fields to Russia’s far east, where a branch line will deliver 38 billion cubic meters a year to China. Continue reading

China the world’s ‘most sophisticated’ hacker, says Google’s Eric Schmidt

As long as the United States remains unwilling to fight fire with fire on some fronts, especially cyber warfare, expect things to get much worse — such as one day shutting down banks and grinding the economy to a halt.

China’s state-sanctioned cybercrime is a global “menace” according to Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, as he predicts a revolution in the country in the coming decades in his latest book.

“The disparity between American and Chinese firms and their tactics will put both the government and the companies of the United States at a distinct disadvantage,” because “the United States will not take the same path of digital corporate espionage, as its laws are much stricter (and better enforced) and because illicit competition violate the American sense of fair play,” the book claims. Continue reading

Restrict China, protect Canada

Spying has been in the news of late. It’s the 50th anniversary of the James Bond franchise hitting the silver screen, a Canadian naval officer pleaded guilty last week to selling military secrets to Russia, and the U.S. House of Representatives’ intelligence committee warns Chinese state-owned companies shouldn’t be allowed to own firms in highly sensitive sectors of our economies, for fear of corporate espionage.

The committee warned last week that Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp., two Chinese-based telecommunications giants, should be expelled from the U.S. market to minimize the risk of spying. Continue reading

Chinese buying of U.S. business at record pace

Total Chinese foreign direct investment in the U.S. is on pace to reach at least $8 billion this year, according to the report from research firm Rhodium Group.

That would top the previous record of $5.7 billion reached in 2010, said Thilo Hanemann, research director with Rhodium Group, which tracks all acquisitions and investments in manufacturing facilities, warehouses, labs and offices by foreign companies in the United States valued at $1 million or higher.

In manufacturing, the biggest investments are being made by Chinese firms with products that have been slapped with hefty anti-dumping tariffs, Hanemann said.

Opening up a plant in the United States allows Chinese firms such as Golden Dragon Precise Copper Tube Group, Inc. — which broke ground this year on a $100 million plant in Thomasville, Ala. — to avoid these tariffs.

But there are both risk and benefits to the United States from increased Chinese investment, said Hanemann.

The risks include national security and transparency concerns, he said. He also expects American companies will put more pressure on policymakers to push for a level playing field for them in China.

Full article: Chinese buying of U.S. business at record pace (CNN Money)

Chinese Target U.S. Homes

Lennar Corp., one of the U.S.’s largest home builders, is in talks with the China Development Bank for approximately $1.7 billion in capital to jump-start two long-delayed San Francisco projects that would transform two former naval bases into large-scale housing developments, according to people familiar with the discussions.

The negotiations aren’t final and the financing arrangement could still fall through. But if completed, the deal would reflect a changing dynamic between the U.S. and Chinese economies, as an American company turns to China for help funding a long-delayed and partially publicly funded project that otherwise wouldn’t get done.

The CDB and the Lennar partnership have been in discussions to include China Railway Construction Corp., a state-run contractor, in the development of Treasure Island and Hunters Point, according to people familiar with the matter. While it is unclear what CRCC’s role would be, the company could serve as an adviser or in an consulting role, or could possibly even invest in a local construction company that employs U.S. workers, these people said.

With Chinese firms increasingly eyeing opportunities in the U.S. and other developed markets, CDB will likely find itself being approached to fund more deals in the U.S. People familiar with the negotiations said CDB was using the Treasure Island and Hunters Point projects—which both include “green” building and affordable housing components that are of interest to Chinese builders—as a test case to become familiar with what’s required for doing such deals in the U.S.

Full article: Chinese Target U.S. Homes (Wall Street Journal)