Fact check: China's Haier purchased GE's appliance business in 2016

·3 min read

The claim: General Electric is being sold to a Chinese company for $5.4 billion

Recently viral Facebook posts claim General Electric is being sold to a Chinese company for $5.4 billion.

"General Electric is being sold to a Chinese company for 5.4 billion dollars. Americans are you concerned yet???" reads a Dec. 23 post with over 67,000 shares and 900 comments.

"China is buying General Electric for 5.4 billion. They should not even be able to buy a piece of gum in the US, this needs to stop," reads another Facebook post shared on Jan. 1. Other users across Facebook shared similar versions of the claim.

USA TODAY reached out to the users for comment.

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General Electric unit sold in 2016

General Electric, a technology and financial services company operates power, renewable energy, aviation, health care and capital, according to Forbes. The company generated a global revenue of $95.2 billion in 2019.

GE sold its appliance business — not the entire company — to Haier for $5.4 billion in 2016, not recently. The purchase enabled GE to focus on its industrial business of jet engines and power tribunes, instead of washing machines and finance, the Wall Street Journal reported at the time of the deal.

Haier, a Chinese manufacturer of household goods, including washing machines, refrigerators and microwaves, sought to expand into international markets; the sale was the third largest acquisition of a U.S. company by Chinese investors, according to CNN.

GE was formed in 1892 with the merger of Edison General Electric and the Thomson-Houston Co., and began marketing heating and cooking products by 1907, USA TODAY reported in 2016.

Haier announced the agreement on Jan. 15, 2016, and the purchase was finalized on June 6, 2016. The announcement of the acquisition stated that GE Appliances would still be headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, and include a board of directors with representatives from Haier and GE Appliances.

"GE Appliances has great employees and a strong global customer base and I am confident that, together, we will be able to embrace the digital era and offer customers the best possible choice and service now and in the future," Zhang Ruimin, Chairman and CEO of Haier Group said in 2016.

There are no reports or announcements that Haier plans to purchase all of GE in 2021.

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Our ruling: Partly false

The claim that General Electric was recently purchased by a Chinese company is PARTLY FALSE, based on our research. While its true that Haier purchased GE's appliance business for $5.4 billion, Haier only purchased GE's appliance unit, not the entire company, as suggested in the claims. The transaction also took place in 2016, not in 2021.

Our fact-check sources:

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: China's Haier purchased GE appliance unit in 2016