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Foreign direct investment (FDI) from China in the U.S. 2000-2019

Chinese companies invested 37.7 billion U.S. dollars into firms in the United States in 2019, when measured on a historical-cost basis. This level of foreign direct investment (FDI) increased dramatically from 2015 to 2016, but has decreased slightly since then.

Sino-American relations

FDI flows are even higher from the United States into China than the flows in this statistic. In addition to FDI, the countries are linked by billions of U.S. dollars in trade value, much of which includes integrated supply chains which see intermediate products shipped back and forth before a final product goes to consumers. This close economic relationship does not imply a political partnership, however. In fact, the countries engaged in what most analysts consider a trade war starting in 2018.

China’s other options

China is expanding its Belt and Road Initiative, producing infrastructure investments abroad in different parts of Asia. However, these outflows do not yet reach the values seen in this statistic, partly due to the smaller size of the target economies. Still, the majority of net overseas direct investment from China goes to Asia. This measure is slightly different because it does not give the total volume of investments, but it underscores the importance of regional ties to Chinese investors.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) from China in the United States from 2000 to 2019

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Release date

July 2020


United States

Survey time period

2000 to 2019

Supplementary notes

In accounting, historical cost is the original monetary value of an economic item. Historical cost is based on the stable measuring unit assumption. In some circumstances, assets and liabilities may be shown at their historical cost, as if there had been no change in value since the date of acquisition.
Direct investment implies that a person in one country has a lasting interest in, and a degree of influence over the management of, a business enterprise in another country. For the United States, in accordance with international guidelines, ownership or control of ten percent or more of an enterprise's voting securities, or the equivalent, is considered evidence of such a lasting interest or degree of influence over management. Thus, foreign direct investment in the United States is ownership or control, direct or indirect, by one foreign person of ten percent or more of the voting securities of an incorporated U.S. business enterprise or an equivalent interest in an unincorporated U.S. business enterprise.

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