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Tough capital controls stalling China's offshore M&A spree

Big investors shifting focus to domestic opportunities

Fosun Group Chairman Guo Guangchang, far right, speaking in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

SHANGHAI/HONG KONG -- Chinese companies' big offshore mergers and acquisitions even raised eyebrows in the West not long ago, but the tide of Chinese money washing over distant shores is turning into a trickle, as Beijing steps in to stem capital flight.

After shooting up 31-fold between 2004 and 2016, Chinese direct investment overseas likely will shrink this year for the first time in 15 years, with capital controls instituted by Beijing the culprit.

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