Last year, Chinese contractors took in almost $120bn in revenue outside their domestic market, a quarter of all international construction revenue, according to US journal Engineering News-Record, which compiles rankings of construction companies around the world.
The sum, which is three times what Chinese companies earned in 2009, is linked to the government’s Belt and Road Initiative, which makes Chinese capital available for infrastructure projects around the world.
The survey found that Chinese builders had won 60% of all cross-border construction revenue in Africa and 40% of non-domestic revenue in Asia. Chinese players held the top spots in contracts for transport, power and factories.
One result is that Chinese enterprises now make up 76 of the world’s largest 250 contractors. The Nikkei Asian Review notes the contrast between Chinese contractors and their Japanese counterparts. Only Obayashi and Kajima ranked in the top 50, as did plant-and-factory builders JGC and Chiyoda, but none are ranked higher than 30th place.
Nikkei quotes an engineer with a Japanese plant contractor who last year visited a Chinese-built petrochemical complex that was completed in two years, rather than the more usual four.
He commented that Chinese companies are able to develop their technical expertise in the domestic market, and can also benefit from financing deals that limit competition for projects.
China’s domestic market presently accounts for 20% of global investment in construction. Over the next 10 years, domestic spending is expected to amount to around $13 trillion.
The News-Record also found that European companies had performed well in international markets. The two top rated companies are ACS of Spain, and German contractor Hochtief, in which ACS holds a controlling interest.
China Communications Construction Group came third, followed by Vinci of France, and Strabag of Austria. All these companies retained the place they held in the 2018 rankings.
Image: Standard gauge tracking laying in Kenya (CCCC via Facebook)