China's sovereign wealth fund has warned it will direct its $500 billion arsenal away from countries that are unwelcoming of Chinese investment, citing a rise in Western "protectionism".
Lou Jiwei, the chief executive of the China Investment Corporation, said there was a rise of "protectionism in both trade and investment in some Western countries" and that the fund would direct more of its investment in the faster-growing Asian economies.
"As compared to other financial investors we feel that the scrutiny on us is a little more strict, because of issues like national security," Mr Lou told Reuters on Sunday, speaking on the sidelines of the Communist Party congress currently underway in Beijing, which will see a transition of the Chinese government's most senior leaders.
Mr Lou said he detected rising concern among foreign regulators when CIC partnered with Chinese firms to make acquisitions.
"We would avoid investing in countries that do not welcome us. There are other places to invest," Mr Lou said.
Trade relations between Beijing and Washington have also been strained due to the US blocking a privately owned Chinese company from building wind turbines close to a US military site, while the US House of Representatives' Intelligence Committee warned equipment manufactured by telco giants Huawei and ZTE could be used by Beijing for spying.
The federal government has also angered Beijing by blocking Huawei from bidding on national broadband networks.
Australia is also desperate to attract Chinese funds for infrastructure development and dveloping its agricultural sector. But Chinese investors and diplomats have expressed frustration at what they consider to be tougher regulatory hurdles.
Canada has also repeatedly delayed a decision over whether to allow a $15.1 billion bid by China's top offshore oil and gas producer, CNOOC for Nexen.
Speaking in Melbourne at the World Chinese Economic Forum on Monday, Trade Minister Craig Emerson said China's leadership transition would likely see a continuation of the world's second largest economy shifting from an investment and exports-led economy to one more focused on growing domestic consumption.
"While that may have implications for Australia's minerals and energy exports, it also has many positive implications for many other industries in Australia's economy," Mr Emerson said, naming Australia's services sector as a prime example. "As China diversifies, so must Australia."