China owns a significant portion of the United States’ debt, some1.3 trillion dollars worth. But our national debt is not the only place where China ispicking up the tab. The Chinese government and private financiers have been sinking more and more money into America’s economy. And those investments don’t seem to be slowing.So, how much of the US does China own?
With the recent boom in Chinese credit availability, public and private Chinese investors have been seeking a safe, profitable harbor for their newfound spending ability. Meanwhile, the US dollar has been losing value in comparison to the Chinese yuan. Coupled with a creeping housing bubble the government is desperate to control, experts say there has never been a better time for China to invest in America.
In recent years, Chinese nationals have been buying up real estate around the country at increasingly higher prices than other foreign investors. Especially, in major urban areas like Manhattan, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area. In February 2015, a Chinese insurer agreed to buy a Manhattan hotel for $230 million. According to reports, that price tag makes it the most highly valued hotel in the US with each room costing about $2 million. Last year alone, Chinese buyers spent $22 billion in the housing market, a nearly two-thirds increase from 2012.
Chinese companies are also busy buying existing businesses across the US. Last year, Chinese conglomerate, the Shineway Group, purchased the largest pork producer in the United Statesfor $4.7 billion. The acquisition made the privately owned Chinese meat company a major employer in some rural parts of the US. In North Carolina, one in ten hog farms are now owned by the Chinese pork producer. Similar deals have given China unprecedented access to America’s workforce. Between 2010 and 2013, the largest state-run Chinese oil company spent billions in a series of oil deals with the second largest natural gas company in the US.
In 2012, Chinese president Xi Jinping and US Vice President Joe Biden agreed to support Chinese construction companies in rebuilding America's infrastructure. For example, The new Bay Bridge connecting Oakland and San Francisco was built almost entirely in Shanghai before being shipped to the West Coast. Other projects, like an expansive New York subway refurbishment, have also been outsourced to China Construction America, Inc., which has invested over $2 billion of its own funds in American infrastructure.
Overall since 2005, China has sunk more than $70 billion into US housing, technology, finance, and energy.