LP @Lightspring / Shutterstock.com

Some brands that you may think are quintessentially American are actually owned or overseen by Chinese investment conglomerates. It’s not always obvious until you see it yourself – even sports clubs have some interesting stakeholders.America is home to many companies that are true titans of industry. From General Electric to General Motors, all of these thriving businesses help buoy the economy when it needs it – but even these giants need to get their money from somewhere.Investments come from across the globe, but China is always looking to America to try and create fruitful partnerships. If that means saving a floundering brand, then so be it. Read on to find out which of Uncle Sam’s most influential companies are backed by some surprising businesses.

1. Sea World

Headquarters: Orlando, FA
Bought By: 
Zhonghong Zhuoye
Headquarters: China

The SeaWorld theme park chain has been going for 56 years, for better or for worse. The parks were owned by Busch Entertainment Group, but this all changed in 2009 when they were sold to Blackstone Group. Blackstone held onto the venture until 2017 when they sold the majority of their stake in a public offering.

Sea World ©Ami Parikh / Shutterstock.com

One of the buyers was Zhonghong Zhuoye. Two of the executives, Yoshikazu Maruyama and Yongli Wang, became board members once the deal was completed. Plans were soon unveiled in a bid to generate $14 million in profit for the theme parks over the following three years.

2. General Electric – Appliances Division

Headquarters: Boston, Mass.
Bought By: Haier
Headquarters: Qingdao, China

General Electric may have started out as a relatively small brand when it was founded in 1892, but the company has grown exponentially since then. Now, GE has its fingers in a lot of pies, from aviation and healthcare to power and venture capital. It’s a titan.

General Electric ©Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

Many Americans find the brand appealing because it has a “Made in America” stamp on its products, however, the appliances wing of the company has been owned by Chinese company Haier since 2016. Haier bought GE appliances for $5.4 billion, a recording breaking sum at that time. The products are still made in the USA, but the decisions are made in China.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers

Headquarters: Cleveland, Ohio
Bought By: 
Investor Group led by, Jianhua Huang
Headquarters: Beijing, China

Basketball team the Cleveland Cavaliers burst onto the scene in 1970 with thanks from their sponsors. The team continued to grow in the game over the decades, with backing from Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. However, in 2019, they got some overseas investors, too.

Cleveland Cavaliers @Cavs / Facebook.com

The Cavaliers signed a deal with Jianhua Huang, a Chinese businessman that previously made deals with the New York Yankees and other teams throughout America. Huang reportedly bought a 15% stake in the Cavaliers. It’s not unusual for sports clubs to have outside investors from overseas.

4. General Motors

Headquarters: Detroit, Michigan
Bought By: 
Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (Joint Venture)
Headquarters: Shanghai, China

General Motors holds the distinction of being America’s largest automobile manufacturer. As such, it’s also one of the biggest companies of its kind in the entire world, which certainly makes it profitable and appealing.

General Motors ©Linda Parton / Shutterstock.com

While General Motors isn’t owned by a Chinese company, it does rely on its partnership with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp to keep the money rolling in. Both of the companies formed a joint venture in 1998. SAIC sells companies under the General Motors name, even if customers don’t realize it. SAIC has its headquarters in Shanghai, while GM has theirs in Detroit.

5. Spotify

Headquarters: Luxembourg, Stockholm, and NYC
Bought By: 
Tencent Holdings Ltd
Headquarters: Shenzhen, China

Spotify is such a part of everyday life now that it’s difficult to remember a time when we couldn’t listen to the songs we want at the drop of a hat. The company was first founded in 2006, providing listeners with a way to stream their favorite music. Although it came from Sweden, Spotify has traveled a lot since then.
Spotify ©norazaminayob / Shutterstock.com
Back in 2017, Tencent Holdings and Spotify bought a stake in each other of roughly 10%. This joint venture helped Spotify crack into the Chinese market, while Tencent expanded its already large portfolio. It was a partnership of convenience for Spotify, who wasn’t strong enough at that point to dive into the Chinese market alone.