China adds weapons, media to 'sensitive' overseas investment list

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s state planner included news media and weapons development in its list of “sensitive” sectors for offshore investment on Sunday, meaning any deals in those areas could face greater scrutiny.

Development of cross-border water resources also was listed as a “sensitive” sector, confirming draft changes to the guidelines first issued in November.

Those guidelines for the first time treated outbound investment by Chinese individuals in the same way as such investments by companies.

They also require domestic firms making outbound investments of more than $300 million to seek approval from the planner, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

The list maintained restrictions on offshore investments in real estate, hotels, motion picture studios and sports clubs.

Investment attorneys and advisers expect publication of the list to chill Chinese corporate interest in offshore investment in the mentioned sectors.

China’s non-financial outbound direct investment in 2017 fell 29.4 percent year-on-year to $120.08 billion, as the government mounted a campaign against what it called “irrational” outbound investment.

The NDRC list will come into effect from 1 March, the notice said.

Reporting By Matthew Miller; Editing by Andrew Heavens