Wanda’s purchase of AMC Theaters raised more than a few eyebrows in the US? Is China buying a backdoor to execute its soft power? Business analyst and author Shaun Rein explains in Foreign Policy what is behind this and other high-profile corporate purchases by Chinese companies.
Unlike Japanese companies in the 1980s, which believed in the superiority of their own management techniques and sought to replace senior teams at American firms they bought out, most Chinese companies are keenly aware that they lack international-standard best practices. They acquire companies primarily for brand equity and as a learning opportunity. When Lenovo bought IBM’s ThinkPad line, then the largest producer of laptops, there were few layoffs; Lenovo actually hired executives from Dell to run operations…
Wanda’s acquisition, like China Bright Food’s purchase of the British food brand Weetabix and the Chinese auto company Geely’s purchase of Volvo, shows Chinese brands want to acquire global brands rather than the painful, often multi-decade process of building them organically. Chinese companies have the cash and ambition to expand overseas, and are not afraid to do so through mergers and acquisitions. They are looking to become “truly global” — as Wanda chairman Wang Jianlin recently said the AMC deal would make his company. Americans need to be ready for more of these purchases and understand that Chinese companies are looking out for their own profit and loss column.
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