China Global Investment Tracker Interactive Map (

What It Shows

This interactive infographic combines various aspects of China’s interaction with the global economy, showing its investments and activities in numerous sectors: metals, industry, transportation, real estate, agriculture, power, finance, energy, and technology. From this, interesting strategic perspectives emerge. Also included are per-country specifics across these areas, and how they connect to China with a mini profile tracking recent years.

Key take home points are China’s massive input and thus control of American debt, while actually investing in pretty much everyone but the United States in the other sectors. Very interesting.

Why It’s Good

While it basically amounts to simple quantity comparisons, it is, in a way, nine infographics in one. This simplicity makes more complex points, made that much easier to digest when switching from one area to another is so easy. The extra element of being able to look by country is fantastic, offering excellent options for digging deeper with a totally clean interface. If you would like to see how investment of metals in Kazakhstan changed from 2008 to 2009, no problem. The process is pretty much as intuitive as it could be.

What It’s Missing

The information flow involves choosing a sector, which shows the investment activity for China around the world in that sector. Then, the drill down involves mousing over a particular country to get comparative data for the last 7 years (including 2011). When moused over, you can still see the quantities for other sectors in grey, with the currently selected industry highlighted. This is a really nice touch. What I can’t do is easily switch to data for the last 7 years from one sector to another for the same country. I have to choose a different sector, then mouse over the country again to see its recent trends. If I could lock onto a country by clicking on it, then click through the various sectors to see the trends for those industries for that country, it would be nice. Clicking anywhere else on the map that’s not a country could revert back to global (so basically clicking on water), as could a reset button.

This is obviously very picky, and in most cases, switching from trend screen to trend screen for the same country in that direct a way isn’t really necessary. Plus, really I’m asking to cut down from a click and mouse over to just a click. Big deal.

This lovely infographic was found at the Heritage Foundation think tank here.