Former White House economic adviser Larry Summers called it a wakeup call last month when China's Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, a new alternative to the World Bank and IMF, began gaining traction with other countries, including many U.S. allies. But China's penchant for lending comes as no surprise to those who follow Latin America and the Caribbean, where China has long been a financier of choice.
China has made investments in Latin American totaling $119 billion since 2005, according to Kevin Gallagher, Boston University professor and co-author of an April report by the Global Economic Governance Initiative (GEGI). Chinese investment in Latin America has exceeded that of the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank combined in the last year, according to a report from Margaret Myers of the Inter-American Dialogue, a nonprofit that studies the Western Hemisphere.
"The Chinese government hopes to develop itself on par with (the United States), Europe and Russia as an international leader," said Rodger Baker, vice president of Asia-Pacific Analysis at advisory firm Stratfor. "Being able to be this lender of last resort, or person who seems willing to offer financial aid to these countries, gives China a leg up in the United Nations and other foreign affairs organizations. It's kind of buying friends."
So where in the U.S.'s backyard is China's influence greatest? Click ahead to find out.
—By Anita Balakrishnan, special to CNBC
Posted 6 May 2015