US security reviews holding back Chinese investment, says Baidu’s Robin Li

Under the Trump administration, foreign investment in the United States is being aggressively policed.

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US security reviews holding back Chinese investment, says Baidu’s Robin Li

Robin Li, the founder of Chinese search engine Baidu, said while US capital can freely flow into the Chinese tech industry, strict US security reviews are holding Chinese companies back from investing in the United States.

“There is hardly any restriction on US capital investment in China, and we will continue to see all kinds of US funds investing in China. But for Chinese companies to invest in the United States, there are too many restrictions,” Robin Li told reporters on Wednesday morning after the closing ceremony of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference annual session.

Chinese companies have shelved their investment plans because of security reviews and the “uncertainties” they bring about, Li said.

Li’s remarks came after data published earlier this year showing a plunge of Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) into the United States. According to data from economic research firm Rhodium Group, Chinese FDI into the US was US$4.8 billion in 2018, a drastic fall by 90% from 2016 and 84% from 2017.

Earlier this year, Reuters reported that Chinese investors “have walked away from transactions and stopped taking meetings with US startups” due to increasing security reviews from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, an inter-agency committee in charge of reviewing transactions involving foreign investment in the United States that may have an impact on national security.