If you've been listening to Germany's economy minister and deputy chancellor Sigmar Gabriel recently, you might be under the impression that China is about to take over Europe and the industrialized world.
However, that's all changed. This month Beijing announced new capital controls measures, including curbs on international renminbi payments and gold imports and, crucially, restrictions on outbound mergers and acquisitions.
The volume and number of Chinese acquisitions in the U.S., European Union and Japan has been accelerating in recent years. In the first three quarters of 2016, Chinese acquisitions in the U.S., Western Europe and developed Asia totalled $208 billion. This compares to $97 billion in the same period in 2015, $44 billion in 2014 and $30 billion in 2013.
The driver behind this trend has been China's need to acquire know-how to close the gap with more advanced economies. Crucially, China needs processes and technology to improve productivity that would take too much time to develop on its own, leaving it with little choice but to buy them outside.
However, the downside to this flow of money out of China has been downward pressure on the renminbi, which Chinese authorities want to reverse.