State Grid, like many other big, aggressive grid operators, has decided to move beyond its national market to take advantage of higher returns.

It now has a presence in Brazil, Venezuela and the Philippines, and earlier this year it paid $485m for a 25% stake in Portugal’s national grid company, Redes Energéticas Nacionais (REN). It is also reported to have had a bid for a stake in Spanish grid operator REE turned down by regulators because of rules that limit the amount of shares that can be owned by any single private company.

State Grid general manager Liu Zhenya said recently that the company plans to boost its overseas assets to as much as $50bn by 2020.