Popular American brands are, unfortunately, not always completely American owned. And while we would expect these iconic American brands to be owned by actual American’s, this is the effects of globalization on the American market. Some of the most dominant brands in our country are owned by foreign conglomerates.
Several Chinese conglomerates have invested in the U.S. buying stakes in American companies over the years. Some of these major conglomerates include Tencent Holdings, HNA Group, Dalian Wanda Group among others. These conglomerates own majority shares or even the entirety of these popular American companies.
Here is a list of 10 American companies that are actually owned by the Chinese.
Spotify is a giant audio streaming and media service provider in the industry right now. It is the world’s largest music streaming service provider and had over 356 million users in the first quarter of 2021. Spotify entered the market as a Swedish company before spreading worldwide with offices all over the globe.
In 2017, the Chinese investment company Tencent Holdings Limited LLC bought 10% of shares in the company. In return, Spotify bought 10% of Tencent Music Entertainment. The investment by Tencent Holdings aided Spotify in breaking into the Chinese market.
The stock swap in 2017 ensured that both Spotify and Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) have a share percentage of each other’s company. SEC filing notes that as of 2019, Tencent holdings controlled 16.63 million shares in Spotify.
AMC (American Multi-Cinema) Entertainment Holding, Inc is one of the largest movie theatre chains in the world. The chain acquired UCI cinemas, Odeon Cinemas and Carmike Cinemas in 2016 thereby becoming the largest movie theatre in the world.
In 2012 the Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group that is based in Beijing became a majority stakeholder in AMC. Dalian Wanda made a historic deal investing $2.8 billion in AMC which led them to being majority stakeholder from 2012 to 2018.
In 2018, a private equity firm known as Silver Lake Partners invested $600 million in AMC thus acquiring some executive power. However, Wanda Group still retained majority control.
Lenovo is one of the largest PC companies in China. It was founded in 1984 at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Lenovo is one of the best consumer electronics manufacturers. The company was incorporated in Hong Kong in 1988 and is partially owned by the Chinese government.
It was initially known as Legend Holdings before changing its name to Lenovo in 2004. Lenovo was initially set up to distribute the equipment made by IBM and ended up selling its own PCs by 1990. In 2005, Lenovo acquired IBM’s former personal computer division.
In 2011 and 2012, Lenovo acquired Brazil’s CCE and Medion, which is a German computer company. The company owns ThinkPad and has positioned itself as a powerhouse in global technology.
4. General Motors
General Motors is the largest automobile manufacturer in America and also one of the largest in the world. The company was founded in 1908 as a holding company by William C. Durant. It was restructured in 2009 to become the company it is now.
In 1998, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC) teamed up with GM to form SAIC-GM, a Chinese brand. GM is not exactly Chinese owned but it relies heavily on its partnership with SAIC to remain profitable. SAIC-GM has a 6 million square foot facility in Shanghai.
SAIC brings extra sales from China which generates considerable revenue to GM through the SAIC-GM. The additional sales from China are vital to GM’s overall profits.
The multimedia messaging app Snapchat was created in 2011 has grown to become a giant in the social media market. Snapchat was created by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown all of whom were former students at Stanford University. Snapchat’s main feature is its short-term availability of media shared on it.
The app had over 187 million active users. Tencent Holdings owns about 14% of Snapchats shares after investing $1.7 billion in 2017. This was after Snapchat performed poorly in the quarter reports leading to its shares dipping. Snapchats structure is mainly privately owned thereby Tencent is more likely to have acquired a financial stake rather than voting rights.
6. Hilton Hotels
Hilton has been one of the biggest brands in the hospitality industry in America since 1919. Its headquarters is in Virginia and it has 6215 properties across 118 countries around the globe. The Chinese aviation and shipping giant, HNA Group acquired a 25% stake in Hilton hotels in 2016.
HNA Group invested $6.5 billion into Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc putting two Chinese directors on Hilton’s board of 10. HNA bought its shares for Hilton at $26.25 each valuing the entirety of Hilton at $26 billion.
HNA’s investment was in a bid to reap from the surge of mainland Chinese tourists traveling overseas. As of the last two years, HNA has been unsuccessfully trying to sell its share in Hilton.
7. Riot Games
The American video game developer Riot Games was founded in 2006 by Brandon Beck and Marc Merill. The company was founded to develop League of Legends and has since grown to also become a publisher and esports tournament organizer. League of Legends is a giant in the video game world and has resulted in the recent rise of eSports.
It is valued at a billion dollars. In 2011, Riot Games became a subsidiary of the Chinese holding company Tencent. Tencent bought a majority stake in Riot at $400 million in 2011 then proceeded to buy the rest of the company in 2015.
8. Smithfield foods
Smithfield Foods was founded in 1936 by Joseph W. Luter and his son. It is an American pork producer and food processing company that is based in Smithfield, Virginia. Smithfield is one of the largest pig and pork producers in the world. In 2013, the company was acquired by the Chinese company WH Group at $4.7 billion in a $7.1 billion-dollar deal.
It was the largest purchase of a U.S firm by a Chinese business. Despite concerns, Smithfield performed really well as a subsidiary of WH Group. The company hit a sales record in 2014 and reports annual revenue of $14 billion.
9. GE Appliances
General Electric Appliances is one of the largest appliances companies in the United States based in Louisville, Kentucky. GE has been operational since 1892. The company manufactures appliances under several brands such as GE Profile, GE, Monogram, Café, Hotpoint, and Haier.
In 2016, GE Appliances was bought by the Chinese investor Haier for $5.4 billion. Haier bought majority ownership of the appliance division. The company operates in a way that their products are made in the U.S but the ideas are generated in China. The long history of the company enabled the arrangement to be possible. The acquisition also gave Haier the right to use the GE brand name until 2056.
10. Legendary Entertainment Company
Legendary Entertainment is one of America’s film production and mass media companies that is based in Burbank, California. The company was founded in 2000 by Thomas Tull. It has collaborated with Netflix, Warner Bros, and Universal Pictures.
In 2016, the company was bought by the Chinese company Dalian Wanda. This was after Wanda acquired AMC. Wanda invested $3.5 billion to acquire the movie studio to complement the AMC theatres. Legendary Entertainment then became a subsidiary of Wanda Group operating independently for the time being.
Wanda Group has plans to integrate Legendary into its conglomerate once it brings steady profits.