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China not out to purchase Europe: Wen (2)

By Ding Qingfen (China Daily)

11:01, February 04, 2012

There are growing concerns in Europe that a recent wave of investment by Chinese companies and government-backed funds will give Beijing too much influence over struggling European economies.

In 2011, China's outbound direct investment gained a slight 1.8 percent to $60 billion, while China's investment in Europe gained by 94.1 percent to $4.28 billion, figures from the Ministry of Commerce showed.

Chinese construction equipment maker Sany Heavy Industry announced recently it would pay 324 million euros ($426 million) to buy 90 percent of Putzmeister, Germany's largest concrete pump maker.

In another recent deal, China State Grid has agreed to pay 387 million euros for a 25 percent stake in the national electricity grid of debt-stricken Portugal, Treasury Secretary Maria Albuquerque said on Thursday.

European leaders have called on China, which has the world's largest foreign exchange reserves, to invest in a bailout fund to rescue debt-stricken countries.

On Thursday, Merkel started her fifth official visit to China in six years as chancellor. On the first day of her three-day visit, China promised to consider how to get "more deeply involved" in resolving Europe's debt crisis.

On Friday she met President Hu Jintao before she flew to Guangzhou, home to more than 400 German companies.

Hu said China was ready to push forward the long-term, healthy and in-depth development of its strategic partnership with Germany over the decades to come.

During a forum in Guangzhou, Wen said nobody needs to worry about China's increasing investment in Europe and China also welcomes investment from Germany.

"We expect Chinese companies can make more investments and enhance cooperation with Germany. China encourages domestic companies of all types, including State-owned and private enterprises, to invest in Germany," he said.

"Germany is a country that is open to all. We warmly welcome the investment from China," said Merkel. "There are already many good examples."

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