China's big commodities players (CNPC, CNOOC, Minmetals, etc.) were at the heart of China's old “going out” story. The new story is a diversified approach to OFDI and market-building abroad, based on three kinds of players: old-economy SOEs supporting the Belt and Road initiative, nominally private enterprises expanding and diversifying in the West, and anointed new-economy SOE champions seeking to fulfill national goals on a global scale.
China’s current OFDI trends may be a bubble, however, enabled by too much liquidity and an overvalued RMB and a generally distressed seller’s market in much of the world. Looking forward, concerns over capital outflows mixed with fiscal reality-checks at home may make China’s new Going Out a short-lived adventure – or at least reduce it to a machination of much smaller scale.
For MNCs seeking alignment opportunities while the new Going Out still has momentum, doors are increasingly opening as China’s financing resources come under further pressure.