Overseas technologies are the intellectual prizes of nations, and not exactly low-hanging fruit for Chinese buyers, but purchases are not as difficult as they may seem.

Richard Li reports

The China National Chemical Corporation’s (ChemChina) planned US$43 billion takeover of Syngenta could be one of the most dazzling Chinese outbound deals this year. The huge purchase, which has recently received clearance from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), is said to be the largest overseas acquisition by Chinese buyers to date, if it goes through.

ChemChina’s interest in Syngenta, a Swiss-based company specializing in agribusiness and related technologies, is only a hint of a growing Chinese appetite for overseas tech-intensive businesses. But the exchange of capital for intellectual wealth is not just about taking advanced technology back home. For some big Chinese multinationals, it is also part of their global expansion strategy.

Acquirers from China include private and state-owned players, seeking targets in a wide spectrum of sectors from life sciences, clean energy, robotics and manufacturing to online games, social media and other internet technologies. Established brand names and promising start-ups all suit Chinese tastes.

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