1 Feb 2010

Disquiet over investments by China

7:21 am on 1 February 2010

Disquiet is reported about China's growing interest in Australian businesses.

Radio New Zealand's Sydney correspondent says China has spent $US25 billion on 17 acquisitions in Australia and has made 21 strategic investments in the past year.

Top of China's list are mining companies - the latest being a $3.5 billion purchase of a coal miner Felix Resources.

Now China is looking at food companies as well, making a $1.4 billion offer to buy the sugar business of CSR.

Radio New Zealand's correspondent says the upshot is public disquiet about Chinese expansion in Australia, is rising.

A new survey has found 81% of investors there think China's human rights record should play a role in the bilateral economic relationship and 40% believe Chinese firms are government directed.

Provoking suspicions was China's recent jailing of an Australian employee of miner Rio Tinto after a bid by a Chinese state-owned company to control Rio was knocked back.