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Chinese investors surged into Europe at the height of the continent’s sovereign debt crisis, writes The Financial Times in an investigation that finds Chinese direct investment in the EU grew from €6.1bn in 2010 to nearly €27bn by the end of 2012.

This “transformation in the model of Chinese outbound investment” saw the Asian superpower buying up cheap assets in “some of the hardest-hit countries of the eurozone periphery”, writes the daily.

The Financial Times investigation claims the trend reveals —

the strategies of Chinese investors and migrants caught up in a national effort – a “going out” policy in place since 1999 – to find new markets and enhance China’s economic strength. […] Analysts across the continent see robust deals in the making and signs that investment will increase significantly this decade.