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If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: While China does not own California or Hawaii, its companies and investors have made major investments in industries, real estate, infrastructure, and other assets in those states over the past few decades. This has given China growing economic influence, but the states remain firmly under U.S. jurisdiction.

In this approximately 3000 word article, we will examine the extent of China’s investments and economic ties in California and Hawaii.

We’ll look at the major Chinese companies involved, the industries and assets they have focused on, and the economic and political implications of these investments for the states and the U.S.-China relationship overall.

Background on China’s Global Investment Strategy


China’s rapid economic growth and increasing global influence have been accompanied by a strategic focus on expanding its investments overseas. This has led to China becoming one of the largest investors in many countries, including the United States.

In recent years, California and Hawaii have seen a significant influx of Chinese investments, contributing to their economic growth and development.

Belt and Road Initiative

One of the key components of China’s global investment strategy is the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Launched in 2013, the BRI aims to enhance connectivity and promote economic cooperation between China and countries along its proposed land and maritime routes. The initiative encompasses infrastructure development, trade facilitation, financial integration, and people-to-people exchanges.

California and Hawaii, being major hubs for international trade and tourism, have attracted considerable attention from Chinese investors participating in the BRI.

The BRI’s focus on infrastructure development has resulted in Chinese investments in various sectors, including ports, transportation, and telecommunications.

For example, the Port of Los Angeles, one of the busiest ports in the United States, has received significant investments from Chinese companies.

These investments have not only improved the port’s capacity and efficiency but also created job opportunities and stimulated local economic growth.

Overseas Direct Investments

In addition to the BRI, China’s overseas direct investments (ODI) have played a crucial role in its economic influence in California and Hawaii.

Chinese companies have been actively investing in a wide range of industries, including real estate, technology, entertainment, and agriculture.

These investments have not only provided capital for local businesses and startups but also brought new expertise and technologies, contributing to innovation and economic diversification.

For example, Chinese investments have been instrumental in the growth of the entertainment industry in California. Major Chinese companies have acquired stakes in Hollywood studios and invested in film production and distribution.

This collaboration has not only boosted the local entertainment industry but also fostered cultural exchange between China and the United States.

China’s Investments in California

China’s economic influence in California has been steadily growing over the years, with significant investments in various sectors.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the key areas where Chinese investors have made their mark.

Real Estate

Chinese investors have been actively investing in California’s real estate market, particularly in major cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. They have been purchasing commercial properties, residential properties, and even entire real estate developments.

This influx of Chinese investment has led to a rise in property values and has created new opportunities for local businesses.


China’s investments in California’s infrastructure have been significant, particularly in transportation and energy sectors. Chinese companies have participated in major infrastructure projects such as the construction of high-speed rail lines and the development of renewable energy projects.

These investments have not only improved California’s transportation and energy systems but have also created jobs and stimulated economic growth.

Technology and Entertainment

China has made substantial investments in California’s technology and entertainment industries. Chinese companies have acquired or invested in numerous tech startups, established partnerships with established technology firms, and even financed Hollywood productions.

These collaborations have not only provided access to capital but have also facilitated the exchange of knowledge and expertise between the two countries.


Chinese investors have also shown interest in California’s agriculture sector.

California is known for its fertile land and diverse agricultural products, making it an attractive investment opportunity for Chinese agricultural companies.

These investments have resulted in increased trade between the two countries and have contributed to the growth of California’s agricultural economy.


China’s investments in California’s education sector have been significant and diverse. Chinese investors have established partnerships with universities, funded research initiatives, and even established their own educational institutions.

These investments have not only expanded educational opportunities for both local and international students but have also fostered cultural exchange and collaboration between China and California.

It is important to note that while Chinese investments have brought many benefits to California, there are also concerns about potential risks and challenges. Some critics argue that excessive Chinese investment may lead to a loss of control over key assets and resources.

Additionally, there are concerns about potential national security implications. Nevertheless, China’s growing economic influence in California is a complex phenomenon that continues to shape the economic landscape of the state.

China’s Investments in Hawaii

China's Investments in Hawaii

China’s economic influence extends beyond the mainland, reaching the shores of Hawaii.

The Chinese government and private entities have been making significant investments in various sectors of Hawaii’s economy, including real estate, tourism, infrastructure, and agriculture.

These investments are not only boosting Hawaii’s economy but also strengthening the ties between China and the Aloha State.

Real Estate and Tourism

China’s investments in Hawaii’s real estate market have been on the rise in recent years. Chinese investors have been purchasing luxury homes, hotels, and resorts, contributing to the growth of the tourism industry.

Many Chinese tourists are also flocking to Hawaii, attracted by its natural beauty, vibrant culture, and luxury shopping opportunities. This influx of Chinese visitors has provided a significant boost to the local economy, supporting jobs and driving tourism-related businesses.


China has also been involved in infrastructure development projects in Hawaii.

For example, Chinese companies have invested in the construction and operation of renewable energy projects such as solar and wind farms. These investments not only provide clean energy solutions for the state but also create job opportunities for local residents.

Additionally, Chinese companies have also been involved in the development of transportation infrastructure, including ports and airports, further enhancing connectivity between Hawaii and Asia.

Agriculture and Food Exports

China’s investments in Hawaii’s agriculture sector have been focused on food production and exports. Chinese companies have been acquiring agricultural land and investing in advanced farming techniques to increase productivity.

This has led to an increase in the supply of high-quality agricultural products, such as coffee, tropical fruits, and macadamia nuts, for both the local market and export to China.

These investments have not only boosted Hawaii’s agricultural industry but also contributed to the state’s overall economic growth.

It is important to note that while China’s investments in Hawaii bring economic benefits, they also raise concerns about potential impacts on local communities, cultural preservation, and environmental sustainability.

It is crucial for policymakers and stakeholders to carefully manage these investments to ensure a balanced and mutually beneficial relationship between China and Hawaii.

Political Implications and Policy Responses

China’s growing economic influence in California and Hawaii has raised concerns over security and economic leverage.

With Chinese investments and acquisitions increasing in these states, there is a fear that China could gain control over key industries and infrastructure, posing a potential threat to national security.

Additionally, the economic leverage China holds over these states can give them significant influence in policy-making and decision-making processes, which may not always align with the best interests of the United States.

Concerns Over Security and Economic Leverage

The rise of Chinese investments in California and Hawaii has sparked concerns about potential security risks.

Chinese companies have been acquiring strategic assets such as ports, technology firms, and real estate, which could provide China with access to sensitive information and infrastructure. This has led to debates on how to balance economic growth and national security.

The fear is that China’s economic leverage could give them the ability to manipulate or pressure decision-makers in these states, potentially compromising U.S. interests.

U.S. Government Scrutiny and Responses

The U.S. government has been closely scrutinizing Chinese investments and acquisitions in California and Hawaii to mitigate potential security risks.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has the authority to review and block foreign investments that could pose a threat to national security.

In recent years, the CFIUS has become more vigilant in evaluating Chinese investments, especially in sensitive sectors such as technology and infrastructure.

This increased scrutiny aims to ensure that the United States retains control over critical assets and protects its national security interests.

State Government Policies

State governments in California and Hawaii have also taken steps to address the political implications of China’s growing economic influence. They have implemented policies to safeguard sensitive industries and protect national security.

These policies include increased oversight of foreign investments, stricter regulations, and closer cooperation with federal agencies.

State governments are also exploring opportunities to diversify their economic partnerships and attract investments from other countries to reduce their reliance on China.

These measures aim to strike a balance between economic growth and maintaining control over key industries and infrastructure.


In conclusion, while China does not actually own California or Hawaii, its companies and investors have made substantial investments across industries, real estate, infrastructure, and other assets in those states over the past few decades.

This reflects China’s broader global investment strategy and has given it growing economic influence. However, the states remain firmly under U.S. jurisdiction.

China’s growing presence has sparked concerns over security and economic leverage, prompting scrutiny and policy responses from both federal and state governments.

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