Deal
Making

in Asia

VIGNETTES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE PACIFIC
Excerpts:

 


LARGER MULTIPLES: EXTRA 000'$ IN ASIA

Swee moved ten years ago to Hong Kong from Singapore.  I think we get along because Canadians and Singaporeans are similar in their approach to celebrating East meet West.   In Canada we are able to retain our cultural identity without compromising being a Canadian.   I am proudly Chinese Canadian, able to maintain my Chinese cultural heritage while defining myself individually as a Canadian. 

Although not yet in senior management at a high-profile private equity player in Asia, she was the person who was getting things done.  Her cheery letter recently,  "I have sold my house in Singapore and Daniel [her husband] and I made a cool $ 2 million profit after 3 years.  We are going to throw that back into a new and bigger place in Singapore.  Thank heavens for great Daddies like mine.  He really did a great job on this deal for me and I hope Daniel will be generous with his appreciation".  In North America, this type of a capital gain would be unheard of for working professionals.  Yet in Asia, multiples in this range are frequent.  She's moved on to bridging the East meets West as communications manager for Nike (Asia)  and  the Marketing Manager for the South China Morning Post and now she lives in Shanghai working with a large media group playing an important role bridging cultures and adept at business as well.   I am proud to have her as my longtime friend who I have learned Life with..

In Asia, a case of business as usual, but with larger multiples and more '000's.  By now even the novice dealer will note that one just has to add a few 000's at the end of each unit when dealing with Chinese.  Status for Asians is reflected in big numbers and things done generally in a big way.  The concept of largesse is what the westerner should be thinking of in their dealings with Chinese.  The term 'billion' is used possibly more frequently because of the currency.  However, Chinese have a historical record of firsts. 

In 1992 I was invited by a Shipping Tycoon  to join at the launch of "The New Valor", his newest ship at the Fukuoka shipyards with guest including Hong Kong's top government administrator, Anson Chan and her Caltex executive husband Archie, and Jeannie and Dick Perelman from Bermuda.  When my host mentioned launch, he didn't mention that it was a VLCC (very large cargo container) the length of four foot ball fields!    Representatives from Marubeni, Orix and China's premier shipping companies COSCO were in attendance.  Example yet again of larger multiples in Asia.  Businesses and politics in Asia consistently compete yet join forces to achieve "Tallest-Biggest".  Thus unit sizes of billions, hundreds of millions etc.  I learned long ago in business that the only difference is the number of '000's in the transaction.  It takes just as much effort to do a big deal as a small one.  The only difference is the size of the stakes.  I still remember the launch of the VLCC for one of the guests arriving with 9 pieces of luggage full of haute couture.  Bigger stage; larger numbers.  When I was with the Pacific Century Group, we could entertain aboard Concordia, Hong Kong's only 88 foot double cigarette power boat.   I did hear that they had to send a hydrofoil pilot overseas to train him how to operate the boat since no one in Hong Kong has ever had ever owned or operated such a powerful machine.  One of Asia's legacies to my personal history was learning to do business in larger multiples.                               - by Andrea Eng       

This article about the breakup of China's post office also illustrates the point of "Larger Multiples" when dealing with China.   

Beijing will accelerate plans to reorganize the State Post Bureau, which involve splitting off its banking component to create the nation's fifth- biggest lender by deposits, the China Banking Regulatory Commission said.

Vice chairman Cai Esheng urged policy banks such as State Development Bank, China Export and Import Bank and Agricultural Development Bank to expand lending to farmers to support Beijing's aim of developing rural areas.

The regulator plans to form four supervisory departments this year to overlook the policy-related banks, the postal institution and asset management companies.

Under the reorganization approved by the Cabinet last July, the new State Post Bureau will become a regulatory body while its previous businesses, including mail services and the deposit and savings units, will be split into five parts and transferred to a new company.

The new China Post Savings Bank will hold 1.23 trillion yuan (HK$1.19 trillion) of deposits - 10 percent of the country's household savings - and continue to offer financial services through 36,000 outlets after the breakup of the postal bureau.  BLOOMBERG     27 March 2006

 


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