Chinese investment in Australia dropped over 61 per cent for 2020, according to data from the Chinese Investment in Australia Database (CHIIA) at The Australian National University.
The investment plunge is a new record low recorded over the past six years, followed by the 47 per cent drop in 2019.
CHIIA noted that between 2014 and 2020, nearly all sectors of the Australian economy saw Chinese investment activity.
However, Chinese investment for 2020 was limited to only three sectors: real estate ($461 million), mining ($414 million) and manufacturing ($153 million).
86 per cent of Chinese investment in Australia came from Chinese companies based in Australia, allowing purchases to be made via onshore subsidiaries rather than by foreign firms.
While the drop in Chinese-Australian investment coincides with a global fall of 23 per cent according to the United Nations, the fall in Chinese investment to Australia is still significantly larger.
“It reflects the effects of COVID but also more scrutiny of foreign investment by the Australian government, particularly that from China,” explained Dr Shiro Armstrong, Director of the East Asian Bureau of Economic Research where CHIIA is based.
“The United Nations reports that total foreign investment to Australia fell by 46 per cent, whereas foreign investment to Japan, China, India and some developed countries such as Sweden and Spain rose while investment to the United States and the United Kingdom plummeted.”
The full dataset is available at www.chiia.eaber.org.