In an otherwise slow year for deal making, China's pursuit of acquisitions around the world has been a big trend. Now it's a record.
Chinese firms have struck $110.8 billion in overseas deals this year, according to Dealogic. To put that number into context, not only is it already a full-year record — surpassing 2015's $106.8 billion — it is more than triple 2014's year-to-date total.
Currently, China is the top cross-border acquirer, according to Dealogic. If it finishes the year first, it would mark the first time ever in the No. 1 spot. The U.S. has topped the rankings in cross-border acquisition every year since 2007.
A raft of big deals has driven the the record. So far Chinese companies have struck 17 deals this year valued at $1 billion or more, including China National Chemical Corp.'s $43 billion cash offer for a Swiss pesticide and seed company Syngenta.
Transactions for U.S. companies account for $31.3 billion of Chinese outbound M&A, up from $3.9 billion in same period last year and the highest annual total on record.
The deal making could get even more frenzied in the second half of 2016. This week that regulators in China are likely to soon end a requirement that they approve some large outbound deals. And they will likely soon allow Chinese companies to vie against each other for the same target.
It has not been all good news from Chinese acquirers. As Chinese companies step out on to the global M&A stage, they have faced increasing failure as well. So far this year, Chinese firms have withdrawn 15 offers worth $24 billion, according to Dealogic. That is the highest annual total on record, exceeding 2005's total of $22 billion.