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Chinese companies now employ more than 80,000 people in the United States, up from less than 15,000 five years ago and virtually zero back in 2000. (Tweet This)
Those numbers are according to a new report from the Rhodium Group, which keeps one of the most complete databases of Chinese foreign direct investment into the United States. The report was commissioned by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, a non-profit that promotes understanding between the U.S. and China.
The top states for Chinese investments are California, Texas and North Carolina, each of which has received more than $5 billion in Chinese investment since 2000. Illinois is fourth with $4 billion, and New York comes in at fifth with $3.8 billion.
When it comes to employment, North Carolina is No. 1, with 15,000 Americans being employed by Chinese companies.
A significant employer in North Carolina is Smithfield Foods, which was bought by a Chinese food company two years ago in a controversial acquisition. Smithfield is headquartered in Virginia, but has production facilities throughout the country.
The second-largest employer in North Carolina is Lenovo. In 2005, Lenovo acquired IBM's PC business including its operations in the Research Triangle. It took American investors by surprise at the time, as it was the first major acquisition of an American brand by a Chinese company. It awakened the U.S. investing community to the rise of China, not just as a manufacturing giant, but as a country that wanted to take on a greater global presence.
In California, the Chinese employ more than 8,300 people, mostly in the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas. The investments are in technology, manufacturing, business service operations and real estate.
Though Chinese investment in the United States has grown in recent years, it's still tiny compared with the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, France and Canada.