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China steps up buying in U.S.

(WALL STREET JOURNAL) The deals getting the green light so far are smaller. Last week, U.S. regulators approved the Chinese acquisition of a U.S. battery maker despite political resistance and an initially icy reception. Wanxiang America Corp., a unit of China’s Wanxiang Group, is paying $257 million to buy A123 SystemsAONEQ -3.57% a U.S. government-backed maker of lithium-ion batteries, after an early attempt at a purchase collapsed.

“You just need to understand the rules, follow the rules, be very transparent and let them make the decision,” says Pin Ni, president of Wanxiang America, who started the U.S. offshoot out of a home office in Chicago.

Last year, Chinese buyers agreed to spend more than $10 billion in 46 deals to acquire U.S. companies or stakes in U.S. firms, according to Dealogic. The volume was higher than the Chinese total from 2009 through 2011 combined. The tally included the sale of Kansas City, Mo.-based movie-theater chain AMC Entertainment Holdings to Wanda Group for $700 million.