The interesting difference between China buying assets (i.e. oil in the ground) and, say, Exxon, is that China has a habit of sending out all the necessary staff and a regiment or three to ensure that they not only have the asset, but can hold it too. As an example, this approach is causing riots in Papua New Guinea, and the PNG government doesn't seem able to do anything about it.
As the Chinese gain in economic and military power over the coming decades, the world may just see a real imperial power in action. The world will recall the days of American superpower status with fondness.