Joel Backaler
Joel Backaler

2014 was a first record year for Chinese investments abroad, but 2015 is bound to follow that track. Outbound Chinese investments specialist Joel Backaler, author of China Goes West: Everything You Need to Know About Chinese Companies Going Global gives in Forbes his top-10 firm to watch this year.

Joel Backaler:

  1. Lenovo – Best known for its 2005 acquisition of IBM’s ThinkPad division, the firm had a big year in 2014 with two major acquisitions in the US: Motorola Mobility and IBM’s x86 enterprise server division. In 2015, the firm is set to continue to grow its global mobile business though both organic and potentially inorganic means.
  2. Dalian Wanda – The Chinese diversified conglomerate first made a name for itself in 2012 with its $2.6 billion acquisition of AMC Entertainment in the US. Dalian Wanda, led by billionaire founder Wang Jianlin, has since made other major overseas investments including Sunseeker yachts in the UK and high-profile real estate acquisitions includingChicago’s third tallest building.
  3. Fosun – Fosun operates across a diverse range of sectors including real estate, insurance and healthcare, and it has deep pockets to fuel global expansion. In December 2014, the firm announced a $433 million deal to acquire Michigan-based Meadowbrook Insurance. It also is currently engaged in an 18-month bidding war for French vacation resort firm, Club Med, and invested in multiple international real estate projects.
  4. Huawei – Despite facing challenges in the US in its core telecommunications equipment business, the firm continues to do exceptionally well around the world. The firm’s consumer business has been booming overseas, and many of its new products were featured at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
  5. Wanxiang –The Chinese automotive and new energy firm has acquired more than two dozen companies in North America since opening its overseas headquarters there in 1994. In 2014, Wanxiang purchased Fisker Automotive, prompting reports that Wanxiang may seek to challenge Tesla in the electric vehicle space.
  6. Alibaba – The e-commerce giant’s record-breaking 2014 IPO in New York was just the tip of the iceberg—an overseas acquisition spree, particularly in the US and other Asian markets, combined with greenfield investments, make this a top Chinese firm to watch in 2015.
  7. Xiaomi – Currently valued at $45 billion, the Chinese smartphone maker is taking the mobile industry by storm and becoming a serious competitor to global rivals Apple and Samsung. The firm may take part in an overseas IPO as early as this year.
  8. Baidu – Despite its US IPO in 2005, Baidu has focused primarily on the Chinese market in recent years. However, in 2014 the firm began pushing more aggressively overseas with its Nokia partnership, $3 million Israeli startup investment and strategic stake in Uber.
  9. Tencent – The Chinese gaming and social app giant has been stepping up its investments in Silicon Valley during the last two years. The global success of its WeChat social messaging app also makes it a key company to watch this year.
  10. Bright Food – Bright Food previously made headlines for high-profile investments in the UK and New Zealand, and the firm is aiming to achieve 25% of revenues from overseas by 2017.

More in Forbes.

Joel Backaler is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers

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