In the past 18 months, many of the biggest names in finance have embraced SPACs, as they became an obsession of both retail investors and the financial media. So far in 2021, 264 SPAC IPOs have gone public, raising $77 billion — a pace of over $1.5 billion per trading day. This compares to 71 operating companies that have IPOed thus far this year, raising $30.1 billion.
If any dealmaker felt the pandemic pinch, one would expect it to be Euan Rellie, founder of cross-border M&A boutique investment bank BDA Partners. The sun never sets on BDA’s sprawling network of corporate matchmakers, with offices across Asia’s burgeoning economies, New York, and London. But COVID travel restrictions meant bankers and clients alike had their wings clipped for most of 2020, unable to peruse the tasty corporate assets on offer in places like China, Vietnam, India, and Korea.
Drew Bernstein interviews long-time China expert James McGregor, the author of One Billion Customers - Lessons from the Frontlines of Doing Business in China, on the challenges that multinationals face doing business in China today and the state of U.S.-China trade relations. Currently the Chairman of APCO Worldwide, Greater China, McGregor has spent three decades in the region as a journalist, venture investor, author, and now public affairs consultant to major corporations with operations in China.
Judging from the headlines, you might think Chinese technology companies are on the ropes. The Justice Department has been investigating and indicting telecom giants Huawei and ZTE. Rising U.S. tariffs threaten to displace China’s dominance in the global supply chain for electronics. And Chinese internet Goliaths Alibaba Group (NYSE:BABA) and Tencent saw their market values shaved in 2018 by investor jitters over government policies and a softening economy.
By Drew Bernstein
In just a few decades, China produced the second largest population of wealthy and ultra-wealthy in the world. Today, China ranks a fast-rising #2 in both the number of millionaires (2.4 million vs. 7.1 million in the U.S.)* and billionaires (213 vs. 536 in the U.S.) ** globally. China’s top 1% own over one-third of total assets, quite astonishing in a putatively socialist country where most of the largest companies are still state owned enterprises.