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American Brands, Chinese Funds: The Hidden Story of Iconic Labels

American Brands, Chinese Funds: The Hidden Story Of Iconic Labels

As the global economy becomes increasingly interconnected, Chinese investment in American companies is expanding at an alarming rate. But what happens when iconic U.S. brands fall under foreign control? Here’s a deeper look into how Chinese ownership is quietly reshaping the landscape of American business, sparking concerns about influence and autonomy in the corporate world.

1. AMC Theatres

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One of the largest movie theater chains in the U.S., AMC was acquired by China’s Dalian Wanda Group in 2012. The purchase significantly increased Wanda’s presence in the global film industry.

2. Smithfield Foods

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This Virginia-based company is the world’s largest pork processor and hog producer. It was acquired in 2013 by the Chinese company Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd., now known as WH Group, in what was at the time the largest acquisition of a U.S. company by a Chinese firm.

3. General Electric Appliances

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Once part of the quintessential American brand General Electric, GE Appliances is now owned by Haier, a Chinese conglomerate known for its consumer electronics and home appliances. Haier acquired the business in 2016.

4. Motorola Mobility

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The mobile device division of Motorola, once synonymous with American innovation in telecommunications, was purchased by the Chinese technology giant Lenovo in 2014 from Google.

5. Strategic Hotels & Resorts

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This luxury hotel operator owns properties in several high-profile locations across the United States, including the Waldorf Astoria in Chicago and the Four Seasons in Jackson Hole. It was acquired by the Anbang Insurance Group from China in 2016.

6. Legendary Entertainment

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A prominent American media company known for producing films such as “Jurassic World” and “The Dark Knight,” Legendary Entertainment was acquired by Wanda Group in 2016.

7. Ingram Micro

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One of the world’s largest distributors of computer and technology products, Ingram Micro, was acquired by Tianjin Tianhai Investment, a part of HNA Group of China, in 2016.

8. Nexteer Automotive

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A leader in intuitive motion control, Nexteer, originally a part of General Motors, was acquired by Pacific Century Motors and later by Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), a state-owned Chinese company.

9. Ironman Triathlon

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Wanda Group acquired the Ironman Triathlon from Providence Equity Partners in 2015, adding the prestigious endurance event company to its extensive portfolio of sports holdings.

10. Sotheby’s

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One of the most famous auction houses in the world, Sotheby’s was privatized by the French-Israeli businessman Patrick Drahi in 2019; however, the Taikang Life Insurance Co. from China is a significant minority shareholder with a substantial influence over the company.

11. The Cleveland Cavaliers

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The NBA team Cleveland Cavaliers had a minority stake purchased by a group of Chinese investors in 2009. This move was part of the NBA’s efforts to globalize the game and expand its reach into China, a significant market for basketball.

12. Riot Games

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Tencent, a major Chinese tech conglomerate, acquired a minority stake in Riot Games, the Los Angeles-based developer of the hugely popular video game “League of Legends,” in 2011. By 2015, Tencent had fully acquired Riot Games, taking over one of the most influential companies in the esports industry.

13. Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center

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Greenwood Village-based hotel company Rida Development Corp., alongside Ares Management Corporation, sold a 35% stake in the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center near Denver to a joint venture that includes a Chinese investment group, making it a significant property held with Chinese investments.

14. Universal Music Group

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Though not a majority stake, Tencent acquired a 10% stake in Universal Music Group in 2020. This stake in one of the largest music companies globally helps Tencent expand its influence in the global music market.

15. Fisker Automotive

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Fisker, an electric vehicle manufacturer, saw significant Chinese investment through Wanxiang Group, which acquired the assets of Fisker Automotive in a bankruptcy auction in 2014. Wanxiang’s involvement was pivotal in restructuring the company.

16. WeWork

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Legend Holdings Corp, through its subsidiary Hony Capital, has invested significantly in WeWork to support its expansion in China. While WeWork is based in the U.S., this significant Chinese investment has helped fuel its rapid global expansion.

17. Brookstone

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This American retail chain known for selling an innovative array of products filed for bankruptcy in 2014 and was subsequently acquired by the Chinese conglomerate Sanpower Group. Brookstone has continued to operate both physical stores and online under this new ownership.

18. Chicago Stock Exchange

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A group led by Chongqing Casin Enterprise Group agreed to purchase the Chicago Stock Exchange in 2016, although the transaction faced significant scrutiny and was eventually blocked by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2018.

19. World Triathlon Corporation (Ironman)

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Beyond Wanda Group’s initial purchase mentioned earlier, Dalian Wanda sold Ironman to Advance Publications, a U.S. company, but retained a minority stake, indicating ongoing Chinese interest in this global sports brand.

Extensive Influence

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These examples highlight the breadth of Chinese investment in American companies, which spans critical infrastructure, digital and media platforms, sports, and more, reflecting the interconnectedness of global economies and the diverse nature of international business interests.

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14 Things That Are Banned in the U.S. but Totally Fine Elsewhere

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20 Foods That Are Cheaper to Eat Out Than Making at Home

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17 Things You’re Paying For, but You Don’t Have To

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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American Brands, Chinese Funds: The Hidden Story of Iconic Labels