China has gone on an epochal resource shopping spree:
Chinese companies have been on a shopping spree in the past month, snapping up tens of billions of dollars’ worth of key assets in Iran, Brazil, Russia, Venezuela, Australia and France in a global fire sale set off by the financial crisis
…Even as global financial flows have slowed sharply overall, China has dramatically stepped up its outbound investment. In 2008, its overseas mergers and acquisitions were worth $52.1 billion — a record, according to the research firm Dealogic. In January and February of this year, Chinese companies invested $16.3 billion abroad, meaning that if the pace holds, the total for 2009 could be nearly double last year’s.
Worldwide, the value of mergers and acquisitions transactions so far this year has dropped 35 percent to $384 billion. By comparison, the United States had $186.2 billion in outbound mergers and acquisitions in 2008 and Japan had $74.3 billion.
China’s state-run media outlets are calling the acquisition spree an opportunity that comes once in a hundred years, and analysts are drawing parallels to 1980s Japan.