Hey, big spender

ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images When U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson talks to his Chinese counterpart, item #1 on the agenda is usually the Chinese currency, the yuan. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) keeps the yuan weak to promote Chinese exports, and many in the United States have cried foul. But keeping the yuan cheap has not been ...

602202_070430_paulson_05.jpg
602202_070430_paulson_05.jpg

ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images

When U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson talks to his Chinese counterpart, item #1 on the agenda is usually the Chinese currency, the yuan. The People's Bank of China (PBOC) keeps the yuan weak to promote Chinese exports, and many in the United States have cried foul. But keeping the yuan cheap has not been easy. The PBOC has had to accumulate a vast quantity of foreign exchange to back its currency and prevent the floods of foreign money from turning China into an inflation-ridden nightmare.

But as any entrepreneur will tell you, saving money for a rainy day is no way to turn a profit. And with over a trillion dollars gathering dust in the PBOC's vaults, China is ready to spend. At the beginning of March, China's finance minister announced that a new agency was in the works that would invest at least $200 billion of these idle funds in companies and assets abroad. From Asian stocks to African railways, the country has plenty of options, but every dollar spent is a risk taken—and China is learning that throwing money around can earn you hatred as well as gratitude.

ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images

When U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson talks to his Chinese counterpart, item #1 on the agenda is usually the Chinese currency, the yuan. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) keeps the yuan weak to promote Chinese exports, and many in the United States have cried foul. But keeping the yuan cheap has not been easy. The PBOC has had to accumulate a vast quantity of foreign exchange to back its currency and prevent the floods of foreign money from turning China into an inflation-ridden nightmare.

But as any entrepreneur will tell you, saving money for a rainy day is no way to turn a profit. And with over a trillion dollars gathering dust in the PBOC’s vaults, China is ready to spend. At the beginning of March, China’s finance minister announced that a new agency was in the works that would invest at least $200 billion of these idle funds in companies and assets abroad. From Asian stocks to African railways, the country has plenty of options, but every dollar spent is a risk taken—and China is learning that throwing money around can earn you hatred as well as gratitude.

Check out what’s on China’s shopping list in this week’s List.

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