The proportion of Chile’s fresh fruit exports going to Asia has grown 16.4 percent year-over-year. This has seen China surpassing the US as Chile’s top destination for fruit exports. Blueberries are just one example of the growing ties between the two economies. Chinese companies in the country provide 5G mobile phone service, distribute electricity and operate banks, among other activities.
But China’s interest in Chile has also provoked unease — especially when it comes to investment in strategic sectors of the country’s economy — as well as concerns from traditional trading partners like the US and Canada that they are getting left behind.
Andres Rebolledo, an economist and former Chilean minister of Energy: “The Chilean government has made a systematic effort for years to attract Chinese investments — it has sought them out and encouraged them.”
InvestChile, a government agency that promotes foreign investment in the country, listed 30 projects from China in its portfolio at the end of the first semester of 2021 — projects worth a total of $5.64m, half a million dollars more than those from the US.