Cash-rich Chinese buyers have been busily snapping up Western brands for quite some time now, and 2016 has seen a record $200 billion (£161bn) worth of deals. Chinese businesses benefit from the recognition and prestige these iconic brands enjoy, not to mention the technology and distribution channels developed by their parent companies. Here are 30 well-known Western brands you might not have known are now majority- or wholly-owned by the Chinese.
Renowned for its super-safe, perennially reliable cars, the vehicles arm of the much-loved Swedish automotive company was sold by Ford to China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group for $1.3 billion (£1bn) in 2010.
The Zhejiang Geely Holding Group followed up its purchase of Volvo in 2013 by buying The London Taxi Company (formerly Manganese Bronze), the firm that produces the most popular model of London’s iconic black cab.
One of America’s most famous manufacturers of refrigerators, dishwashers and other household gadgetry, General Electric’s appliance division was snapped up earlier this year for $5.4 billion (£4.3bn) by Chinese white goods company Haier.
GIEVES & HAWKES
The venerable tailor from London’s famous Savile Row was established way back in 1771 and former clients have included Horatio Nelson and Charlie Chaplin. Gieves & Hawkes was sold in 2012 for $115 million (£92.5m) to Hong Kong’s Trinity, which has embarked on an ambitious expansion program in the UK and China.
Trinity also owns prestigious Italian fashion brand Cerruti. Famed for its luxurious men’s suits and classic 1881 fragrance, the brand was bought by the Hong Kong-based company for $70 million (£56.3m) in 2010.
The UK’s second biggest cereal manufacturer, which also makes breakfast cereal classics Ready Brek and Alpen, was taken over by Shanghai-based company Bright Foods in 2012. The Chinese firm paid $1.5 billion (£1.2bn) for a 60% controlling stake.
Smithfield Foods, America’s premier pork producer, includes brands like Smithfield and Cook’s in its portfolio. China’s Shuanghui Group, the world’s leading pork producer, bought the company for $4.7 billion (£3.8bn) in 2013.
Last year, Chinese investment company Fosun International forked out $1.07 billion (£861m) to acquire the quintessentially French all-inclusive vacation brand, which it hopes to launch in the Chinese market.
The US division of the vacuum cleaner company was sold by Whirlpool to Hong Kong-based investment company Techtronic Industries in 2007 for $108 million (£86.8m).
The world’s biggest gay dating app is now majority-owned by Chinese online gaming company Beijing Kunlun Tech. The firm, which helped launch Rovio’s Angry Birds game in China, paid $93 million (£75m) earlier this year for a 60% stake.
America’s Motorola is controlled by Chinese home computing giant Lenovo, which acquired Motorola Mobility in 2014. The company currently produces a range of Android-powered smartphones.
INTER MILAN FC
The first Italian Serie A soccer club to fall under majority Chinese ownership, Inter Milan was taken over by Nanjing’s Suning Holdings Group earlier this year. The Chinese company paid $289 million (£232m) for a 69% stake in the world-renowned club.
AC MILAN FC
Inter’s arch rival AC Milan has also fallen into Chinese ownership. In August, tycoon and former Italian President Silvio Berlusconi sold AC Milan in its entirety to a consortium of Chinese investors for $792 million (£637m), ending his 30-year tenure of the soccer club.
London’s Hamleys is one of the most famous toy store brands in the world and a major tourist attraction. Now wholly Chinese-owned, the Regent Street institution was bought by Nanjing-based footwear company C.banner for $124 million (£100m) in October last year.
The quality British automotive brand was rescued from oblivion by Shanghai-based SAIC Motor in 2005 following the collapse of its parent company MG Rover. SAIC Motor has recently ceased production at MG’s Longbridge plant and moved all operations to China.
Synonymous with Big Apple glitz and glamour, the landmark Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City was acquired by Chinese Insurance giant Angbang Insurance Group in 2014 for $1.95 billion (£1.57bn). The group is planning to convert some of the hotel’s rooms into luxury condos.
Last year, the state-owned China National Chemical Corporation parted with a massive $7.6 billion (£6.1bn) to buy the eminent Italian firm, famed for its tires and ‘arty’ calendars. The multi-billion dollar deal is the biggest Chinese acquisition of an Italian company to date.
HOUSE OF FRASER
The British department store chain, which boasts 60 branches across the UK and Ireland, is controlled by Chinese conglomerate Sanpower. Headed by tycoon Yuan Yafei, Sanpower paid $560 million (£450m) in 2014 for an 89% stake in the company.
Dalian Wanda, the Chinese conglomerate run by the country’s richest man Wang Jianlin, acquired North American movie theater behemoth AMC Theaters for $2.6 billion (£2.1bn) in 2012. The Chinese group now controls 5,048 cinema screens in 347 theaters across the US and Canada.
A year later, Dalian Wanda bought a majority stake in Sunseeker, Britain’s largest luxury yachtmaker and the seafaring brand of choice for James Bond, splashing out $398 million (£320m) for a 91.8% stake.
Last year, Dalian Wanda raided the company coffers yet again to buy the World Triathlon Corp from America’s Providence Equity Partners LLC for a cool $900 million (£733m). The corporation owns the world-famous Ironman brand and organizes triathlon events worldwide.
The Swiss watch brand, which was established in 1895, is now owned by Hong Kong’s Citychamp Watch & Jewellery Group, which also counts Swiss timepiece brands Corum, Eterna and Rossini in its portfolio.
Superdrug is one of Britain’s best-known drugstore brands, second only to Boots. The parent company was acquired by AS Watson, the retail arm of Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa in 2002. AS Watson also owns Savers, the UK’s third most popular drugstore brand.
Chinese conglomerate Tinno Mobile owns a majority stake in this French smartphone company, which makes all its devices in China. Founded in 2011, Wiko is now France’s second biggest smartphone firm.
A familiar sight in high streets across the UK, PizzaExpress started out in 1969 as a small artisan pizza joint in London’s Soho. The restaurant chain, which has since expanded globally, was bought by Chinese private equity firm Hony Capital in 2014 for $1.1 billion (£900m).
This US manufacturer of vacuum cleaners was originally founded way back in 1905 but parent company Royal Appliances Manufacturing Company was bought by Techtronic Industries in 2002 for $105.5 million (£85m at today’s exchange rate).
The popular Italian womenswear brand was snapped up by Guangzhou’s Trendy International Group in 2012. The parent company controls a range of fashion brands, which include Energie, Murphy & Nye and Killah.
Founded in 1831, Harvey Nichols is one of London’s most upscale department stores, and has over the years expanded to 16 locations worldwide. The upscale chain was bought by Hong Kong company Dickson Concepts in 1991 for $96 million (£77m).
ASTON VILLA FC
The English soccer club was bought by Chinese businessman Dr Tony Xia for $95 million (£76m) in June. Chinese firms also have majority stakes in nearby soccer clubs Birmingham City, West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Chinese textiles leviathan Shandong Ruyi Technology Group is in the process of buying this French clothing brand, which offers high-end apparel at affordable prices. Its parent company SMCP also owns fashion brands Maje and Claudie Pierlot.
One of the world’s most trusted and recognizable baby brands and the UK’s number one feeding bottle, Tommee Tippee and its parent company the Mayborn Group were acquired for $372 million (£300m) by Chinese insurance company Ping An earlier this year.
Another cleaning appliance manufacturer, famous in the UK for its orange vacuums, that has been bought up by Techtronic. It was Techtronic’s first foreign acquisition back in 1999.