by  "The Broker to Billionaires" 


Andrea Eng



Issue:  Cultural Differences:
  • Subtle
  • Relationship-oriented, respect elders
  • Vertical and horizontal integration
  • Adaptable and flexible
  • Direct
  • Transaction oriented  
  • Horizontal vision  
  • Bureaucratic  
DEALMAKING 101                    by ANDREA ENG  TM

know what you don't know and seek The Best in the world"

The Can-Do energy of the Chinese with their experience in today's global world is demonstrating the advantages of doing business with this group, not just locally but also globally.  In today's world, its a well known fact that Asia's growth is exceeding that of the West.  

As fortunes continue to expand, the issue for wealthy Chinese to consider is: Who to trust to operate and manage these investments ?  

Chinese diligence can be famous for its attention to detail.  Consider for example, one occasion in my professional life, one of Canada's premier developers did not believe that my Asian clients had engaged a rock climber to scale the walls of the portfolio of office buildings in several cities, which they had under contract for purchase.  Such attention to detail is uncommon in the West.  But its also this trait that allowed another tycoon to build Coda Plaza in Hong Kong, at a plot ratio greater than envisioned by local authorities.    

 Fact-finding can be done from anywhere with Technology and that has freed up more time  travel more to walk the streets to get the real pulse.   My responsibility - Real Estate - globally is not insignificant.    Borderless boundaries for investments around the world and friends strategically placed in the world who are advisors.     Public policy makers and governments understand now that money is mobile.    Sophisticated investors now have many options for consideration and the quality of information that they have access to first hand is exceptional.   The stakes and opportunity for growth are infinite during times like these.    - by ANDREA ENG      

Accelerating Asian opportunities for B.C. Deal-making guide through complexities of Chinese investment world

The Chinese are coming. They’re going to continue to come, and experts say local businesses need to know how to cut deals with them if they’re to realize the huge Asian opportunity the Chinese present.

“The Canadian business community and also the public, the media, even the government have to face this reality or new trend that is likely more Chinese investment coming to Canada,” said Kenny Zhang, a research analyst with the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.

Over the past several years, China’s juggernaut economy has generated numerous deals for Canadian companies, many of which are Vancouver-based resource enterprises.

Joyce Lee, a partner in McCarthy Tetrault’s business law group, is a go-between for Chinese and Canadian companies looking to negotiate deals.

Last year, Lee played a role in six deals between resource companies worth more than $1.3 billion and has worked with Wuhan Iron & Steel (Group) Corp., the Hanlong Group and state-owned China Investment Corp. (CIC).

While it’s no secret that China’s hunger for natural resources appears insatiable, Lee said Canadian companies have been slow to realize that.

“The long and short of it,” Lee said, “is the Canadian companies have been reluctant to deal with Chinese companies, because they’re not very used to dealing with Chinese investors.”

She added that there are two reasons why Canadian companies have been reluctant to catch on.

The first is that prior to the recession, the commodities market was so strong Canadian companies had little reason to venture abroad.

The second reason goes back to 2005 when China Minmetals Corp. made a bid for Canadian copper and nickel producer Noranda Inc.

The deal fell through, and Switzerland’s Xstrata plc bought a stake in the company.

“I think it’s fair to say they [Chinese investors] were not as prepared as today,” Lee said, “and they were not very used to dealing with transactions the so-called ‘western way.’”

Chinese investors consequently turned their attention to Australia and in Canada focused on smaller resource deals. But that approach didn’t last long.

In 2007, Chinalco, China’s largest diversified miner, bought Peru Copper Inc. for US$860 million.

Last year, CIC took a $1.74 billion stake in Vancouver’s Teck Resources Ltd. (TSX:TCK.A/TCK.B).

Lee said Canadians and Chinese have figured out how to do business together, and it’s unlikely the rate of deals will ebb any time soon.

She said the Chinese are involved in three types of deals with Canadian companies:

  • takeovers;
  • substantial investments short of majority shareholder positions; and
  • joint ventures in which Chinese companies sign off-take agreements for specific commodities.

  • Apart from the mines, they’re also very interested in seeing how successful North American mining companies actually conduct mine development and mining business,” Lee said.

Chinese companies have ambitions to become world-class players in the mining sector, she said, and that’s another reason they’re entering the Canadian resource scene.

    The trick, she explained, is for Canadian companies to figure out how deals with Chinese investors differ from others.

    “One of the keys would be to get the two parties to understand each other.”


    On paper, the deals don’t look much different from any other merger or acquisition, she said, but certain social and business customs must be met.  Lee pointed out that meetings and interactions are critical to bridging cultural gaps.


    “From a deal management perspective, I try to make sure some of the critical issues get dealt with from Day 1 so there’s no frustration.”


    That means establishing what a deal’s timeline is and who its decision makers are.


    “You have to understand for big state-owned companies you don’t get to see their chairman,” said Lee. “It’s a big corporation, and therefore there are many departments within them, and each department might have a slightly different objective.”


    She added that every company is different, and figuring out who makes the ultimate decision on a deal comes with experience.


    Canadian businesses should also be aware that Chinese companies sometimes work from consensus, so there might not be a single decision maker.  But Lee said the Chinese aren’t only after minerals.

    “Technology would be another area that we’ll see some action,” she said, noting that Chinese investment adds a huge Asian market for tech companies.


    In that case, B.C. technology firms need to make sure their intellectual property is well protected if it’s going to be used overseas.


    The Asia Pacific Foundation’s Zhang said the Chinese are also interested in B.C.-based biotechnology and bio-chemical companies.

    “It’s not only one particular sector that’s benefiting,” said Zhang. “It’s the whole economy.”

    And thanks to immigration, said Lee, Vancouver has a leg up on the rest of Canada when it comes to forging deals with Chinese investors.

    “They’re more familiar with Vancouver. Undoubtedly, the key principals of these either state-owned companies or private companies would have friends and relatives living in Vancouver.” •   - 2010


  • Why China is behind in M&A


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