West's Two-Face Attitude to Rise of Chinese Industrial Dragon; on the One Hand Western Politicians Are Calling for China to Adopt Far More Market Friendly Policies. but When That Works the Other Way around Then All Kinds of Political Barriers Are Thrown Up Julian Jessop, Capital Economics

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Napoleon famously recommended letting China sleep because when it woke 'it would shake the world'.

Nearly 200 years on and global markets are themselves waking up to the financial muscle that Chinese firms are willing to flex abroad.

Bids worth more than pounds 11.2 billion have been announced this year by Chinese companies with famous brands such as MG Rover and the US arm of Hoover in their sights.

This represents a four-fold increase on the whole of 2004 and the failure of many of the deals has shown no signs of dampening their enthusiasm to expand abroad.

Reports suggest Marconi could be the next historic company to be a target, with telecoms equipment supplier Huawei thought to be in talks over a potential pounds 600 million takeover.

Marconi was part of industrial conglomerate GEC which was worth pounds 4.91 billion and was the third biggest company on the FTSE 100 Index when it was launched in 1984.

Like carmaker MG Rover, its fortunes have fallen dramatically but is attractive to Chinese firms seeking a well-known brand, state-of-the-art technology and intellectual property rights.

MG Rover was sold by its administrator to Chinese firm Nanjing after a bidding process that also featured Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation.

If the sudden appetite of Chinese firms for cross-border deals has shocked analysts then that in itself is a surprise.

More than a dozen Chinese firms are on the Fortune 500 list of global heavyweight firms and have amassed large amounts of cash that could be spent on overseas deals.

Many are also state-owned and can benefit from massive government loans.

Technology firm Lenovo bought the PC business of IBM last year for pounds 900 million, catapulting it into third place in the market for desk-top computers. …