Here are three examples of Chinese moves on European firms that led to raised eyebrows.
Aixtron, a German maker of semiconductor-producing equipment which had been struggling in the market for chips because of heavy competition from Asia, leapt on an offer by Chinese firm Fujian Grand Chip Investment to pay €670 million (S$ 1.07 billion) for 65 per cent of the company's shares.
The only snag was that Aixtron also makes devices which produce crystalline layers used as semiconductors in weapons systems. The German government expressed its disquiet, but it was ultimately an otherwise obscure US government agency - the Committee on Foreign Investment - which quashed the Chinese purchase, after the United States intelligence services allegedly tipped the Germans that chips produced by Aixtron's equipment could be used in China's nuclear programme.
Philips, a Dutch technology company and one of Europe's biggest, proposed to offload its lighting components business in a US$3.3 billion (S$4.5 billion) deal to a consortium involving Chinese buyers.
Yet again, the Dutch were powerless to act, but the Americans did because the Philips company in question traded in the US. The fact that the Philips enterprise up for sale is a leading producer of light-emitting diodes played a key role in the decision to refuse the Chinese-led purchase.
The acquisition of Syngenta, one of Europe's top biotechnology company, by ChemChina, a wholly owned enterprise of China's State Council, was allowed to go through in the largest foreign takeover in Chinese history.
The European Commission used its powers under competition rules to force the Chinese to divest themselves of some of the purchased assets to prevent dominating European markets. But China did acquire Syngenta's extensive and valuable research portfolio.