Chinese investment in Queensland healthcare on the rise
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Chinese investment in Queensland healthcare on the rise

Queensland is becoming an increasingly popular location for Chinese investors, with more than half of their state-based investments being put into the healthcare sector.

Chinese investors spent $667 million in Queensland last year, of which 57 per cent was in healthcare according to a new KPMG report.

Investment in Queensland from Chinese companies has focused mostly on healthcare.

Investment in Queensland from Chinese companies has focused mostly on healthcare.Credit:Louie Douvis

Only 2 per cent of investment in Queensland went into mining, compared with 63 per cent of Chinese investment in Western Australia’s mining sector.

Chinese investors spent a total of $383 million in Queensland’s health sector in 2017, part of a “surge” in healthcare investment by Chinese companies nationally that reached $1.6 billion.

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Queensland childcare provider G8 Education Ltd also saw a $245 million investment by China First Capital Group, one of the larger investments nationally last year.

Despite the healthcare investment increase, Chinese investment in Australia declined in 2017, with several survey respondents citing the “diplomatic” situation between the two countries as a reason for caution.

Report co-author Professor Hans Hendrischke said Chinese investors saw the Australian media as particularly unsupportive of their investments.

“Our local survey has revealed sentiment has currently shifted, with a higher level of apprehension by Chinese investors towards investing in Australia,” Professor Hendrischke said.

“Seventy per cent of respondents stated that the political debate had made Chinese companies more cautious about investing in Australia.”

KPMG’s report, produced in partnership with the University of Sydney, noted that of the Chinese investors who were surveyed for the June report, many said diplomatic relations were often discussed in their offices.

Nationally Chinese investments saw large falls in infrastructure, renewable energy, and agribusiness, but significant gains in healthcare and a 448 per cent jump in mining investment.

Privately owned enterprises put their money into healthcare services and pharmaceutical companies, KPMG said, and all the 2017 healthcare deals were made by first-time investors in Australia.

“The rise in Chinese healthcare investment reflects Australia’s reputation for developing, testing and producing high-end products and services which can be deployed locally and exported,” the report said.

“International free trade agreements, combined with progressive domestic Australian initiatives such as the federal government’s Medical Research and Innovation Strategy and the National Innovation and Science Agenda, are seen favourably by Chinese as improving Australia’s comparative advantage in advanced health sector industries.”

Lucy is a reporter for Brisbane Times with a special interest in health, science and research.