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Hope for Tsinghua? The China-US deals that did go through

Top 10 Chinese acquisitions in the US

Philippe Lopez | AFP | Getty Images

U.S. memory chip maker Micron has dominated headlines this week amid reports that China's state-owned Tsinghua Unigroup is preparing a $23 billion takeover bid for the Idaho-based company.

The potential deal, while still unconfirmed, has already attracted its fair share of skeptics who doubt it will go through due to Tsinghua's low offer price and the fact that U.S. regulators are likely to be cautious about a large takeover by a Chinese state-owned company. If Tsinghua is able to pull it off, however, it would be the largest-ever Chinese takeover of a U.S. firm.

As investors await further clarity on the status of the deal, CNBC takes a look at the top 10 U.S. acquisitions by Chinese companies, based on data from Dealogic.

By CNBC's Ansuya Harjani, Christine Seib and Leslie Shaffer
Posted 16 July 2015

10. OmniVision Technologies

Using iPhone to photograph the Great Torii, Miyajima Island, Japan
Kevin Schafer | Moment Mobile | Getty Images

Camera sensor maker and iPhone supplier OmniVision Technologies was snapped up earlier this year by a consortium of China-based private-equity funds Hua Capital Management, Citic Capital and GoldStone Investment for $1.86 billion.

The California-based company was tipped as a beneficiary of increasing demand for selfies as smartphone makers continue adding higher definition cameras to their wares. OmniVision already generated the lion's share of its revenue in China, where it has a design center.

9. Waldorf Astoria

The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City
Ben Hider | Getty Images

China's Anbang Insurance got approval in February 2015 to buy the storied Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York for $1.95 billion. The price tag for the 1,400-plus-room hotel makes it the largest U.S. real-estate deal by a Chinese buyer and puts it among the highest prices per room ever paid in the U.S.

Some of the rooms at the hotel, which opened in 1893, may be converted into condos. Anbang isn't interested in the ins-and-outs of being a hotelier, however, agreeing to keep seller Hilton Worldwide as the hotel manager for the next 100 years. The deal has already cost the hotel one group of guests: U.S. diplomats who usually stayed there for the U.N. General Assembly opening; they've decamped out of concerns over potential spying.

8. IBM's x86 server unit

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Having bought IBM's laptop division in 2005, Lenovo went for a bigger piece of U.S. business in 2014 when it spent just over $2 billion on IBM's x86 server unit.

Reuters reported that deal aimed to help the Chinese tech giant diversify away from the slowing PC market by using IBM's higher-end servers, capable of more complex functions, to win large corporate clients. At the time, Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing said the deal opened a new "growth engine" for the company. That didn't mean Lenovo stopped focusing on retail: later the same year the company brought NBA star Kobe Bryant to Beijing to help it promote its smartphone range with young people.

7. Eagle Ford shale project

Frederick J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images

CNOOC, one of China's three major oil and gas companies, has pushed for fast growth in a bid to meet the country's ballooning energy needs. One of the largest deals it did to expand capacity was the $2.2 billion purchase in October 2010 of a third of Chesapeake Energy's Eagle Ford shale project in south Texas. It was reportedly the first time a Chinese state-run oil company had made a U.S. shale investment.

6. Devon Energy's shale projects

STR | AFP | Getty Images

In 2012, Sinopec and its parent company China Petrochemical were ramping up domestic and overseas oil and gas production in an attempt to counter losses from selling diesel and petrol at state-controlled prices. As part of this expansion, China Petrochemical splashed $2.4 billion on a one-third stake in five of Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy's shale exploration projects, reportedly beating bids from a number of U.S. oil producers, multi-nationals and other state-owned energy companies.

5. AMC Entertainment

Mario Tama | Getty Images

Chinese companies have repeatedly been rebuffed by U.S. regulators when trying to buy U.S. companies in strategic sectors, such as natural resources or technology. But when it came to control over cinema seats, Chinese entertainment conglomerate Dalian Wanda was successful in its $2.6 billion acquisition of AMC Entertainment Holdings. At the time of the May 2012 deal, CNBC reported that the purchase gave Dalian Wanda control of more cinema ticket sales than any other company in the world.

4. Blackstone stake

Bloomberg | Getty Images

Chinese sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp (CIC) paid $3 billion to acquire a 10 percent stake in private equity giant Blackstone in May 2007 – the first of two major investments into the U.S. financial sector that year.

When CIC was first established in 2007, its focus was on Western financial institutions. However, its investment strategy has since shifted to include agriculture, reflecting the priorities of the country's leadership.

3. Motorola Mobility Holdings

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Chinese electronics giant Lenovo purchased Motorola's smartphone business from Google for a $2.9 billion price tag in January 2014

. The acquisition was part of Lenovo's push into the smartphone segment as it looks to diversify its business away from PCs. Lenovo received about 2,000 Motorola patents in addition to its phone manufacturing operations as part of the transaction.

2. Morgan Stanley stake

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

China Investment Corp (CIC) ploughed $5.6 billion into Morgan Stanley, taking a 9.9 percent stake in the U.S. bank, in December 2007 - the start of the global financial crisis.

The investment came as Morgan Stanley revealed bigger-than-expected write-downs of $9.4 billion on subprime and other mortgage related debt, according to Reuters. CIC's investment was reportedly one of a series of high-profile stakes taken by sovereign wealth funds in American financial institutions that were in need of fresh capital amid write-downs.

1. Smithfield Foods

Bloomberg | Getty Images

Topping the ranking is Chinese meat processor Shuanghui International's $7.1 billion acquisition of America's biggest pork producer Smithfield Foods, completed in May 2013.

Dubbed "a marriage made in hog heaven," the purchase was aimed at satisfying growing Chinese appetite for U.S. pork. It stirred concern among U.S. politicians but was ultimately allowed to proceed when regulators determined it posed no threat to national security.