- International construction and engineering firm AECOM announced June 7 that it has entered into a memorandum of understanding with China's Shanghai Greenland Construction Group to potentially work together on global integrated delivery projects in China and elsewhere.
- The pair plans to seek out joint opportunities to implement integrated consultancy and construction services on large-scale projects. AECOM and Greenland have worked together on five projects around the world, including the $1.2 billion mixed-use Metropolis project in downtown Los Angeles. The two will also be delivering the London Spire, which is expected to be the tallest residential development in Western Europe.
- Daniel McQuade, president of AECOM’s Construction Services group, said the pairing will allow the two companies to offer "a truly differentiated offering of integrated services, in a flexible and reliable manner.” Tong Sun, executive vice president of Greenland Holdings Group, said this plays into the desire that Chinese companies have to participate in more projects around the world.
This move comes at a time when others might not be ready for China's increased participation in the Western economy. Late last month, Aecon Construction announced that the Canadian government had killed a deal for Chinese Communications Construction Co. to buy Aecon in a CAD $1.4 billion deal. The government rejected the purchase, citing national security reasons. Although the parties involved did not release details of the decision, the Canadian Press reported that government officials tasked with reviewing the deal had concerns around China's potential access to critical infrastructure data from previous Aecon projects.
The United States' relationship with China has been more strained in recent months after the president slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. China filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization, claiming that the duties violate international trade laws. The U.S. has accused China of "dumping" their excess steel and aluminum at extremely low prices and disrupting the market.
However, American developers have sought financing from China previously through traditional loans and also through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service's EB-5 visa program. Chinese investors are very active investors in U.S. commercial real estate projects like the $25 billion Hudson Yards development in Manhattan through the EB-5 program, which gives foreign nationals expedited processing of their green card applications by investing between $500,000 and $1 million into a qualified business or real estate deal.