By the end of 2004 China had had a net volume of direct overseas investment of US$37 billion (excluding finance), and an accumulative business amount of US$114 billion had been achieved from China's external contracting projects.
In September 2002, China's TCL Corporation purchased the Schneider Company, a German TV set manufacturer. In 2003 TCL teamed with Thomson, the biggest French consumer electronics company, to establish TCL-Thomson to become the world's largest TV set producer with an output capacity of 18 million sets a year. The Haier Group, China's largest producer of household electronic appliances, has expanded capacity at its US refrigerator plant in South Carolina from 400,000 to 500,000 units a year, in addition to setting up 13 factories in Europe and South America. The Lenovo Group, China's largest computer company, also expanded its overseas market rapidly; in December 2004 it bought IBM's personal computer business at the price of US$1.25 billion, thus becoming the world's third biggest PC provider, after Dell and HP.