Monday, February 29, 2016

Seller Beware China Taking Over companies foreign takeovers technology ChinaChem, Whampoa, Syngenta, Haier, OmniVision

In 2015 Chinese companies took over 103 American companies up from 100 the year before and way up from the average of 43 in the three years prior to that and 13 in the second half of the previous decade.  Total overseas takeovers valued at $110 billion last year up 86% from 2014, led by energy and utilities (worth $50 billion).
There are now serious questions stateside with regards to the intentions of the Chinese - you see, the Chinese government has more direct control over its companies than any other government does theirs (total currency control gives their companies competitive advantage overseas).  China's leadership prioritizes all aspects of the economy with domestic issues taking precedence - this negatively affects innovation and a company's ability to operate freely overseas.

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There's also the fear factor - it is not uncommon for Chinese executives to be given the death penalty for making harmful decisions even if they are made accidentally.

Then of course there's the fact that most major companies are indirectly owned by the government itself - RDA Microelectronics is controlled by government owned Tsinghua Unigroup.

A Matter Of National Security

The takeovers now pose a direct threat to United States national security, particularly in the semiconductor industry where China holds a strategic advantage thanks to a series of takeovers which have gifted them advanced technology.  Even China acknowledges sectors involving industrial products and chemicals are critical its leader recently made it a priority to have 70% of these components made in China - China uses 60% of the world's chips (China now has 10 of the world's 50 biggest chip makers up from one seven years ago that rise is coming through takevers, not home grown innovation).

Silicon Valley has another problem here too - The world's other major semiconductor producer is Taiwan, a territory that China wants more control over.

it's not just the technology industry that China's after either - already in 2016 Chinese companies have taken over
1) Europe's Monsanto - Syngenta the world's leader in the manufacture of insecticides fungicides and herbicides bought by ChinaChem for $43 billion after the Monstanto deal was scrapped

2) OmniVision Technologies a maker of advanced chips used in smartphones and cameras. bought by Hua Capital Management for $1.9 billion.

3) Foxconn $6.4 billion takeover of Sharp makes Foxconn less reliant on Apple for its business.

4) Chicago Stock Exchange says it's being sold to Chongqing Casin Enterprise Group for $100 million gives Chinese company access to the US equity market and the potential to take trades away from the other big two Nyse and Nasdaq (by listing new stocks or versions with lower stock prices).

5) Hong Kong's Hutchison Whampoa becomes UK's largest cellphone plan service provider after basically receiving approval for O2 - the European Union rejected UK concerns regarding the deal (since O2 was operated by Telefonica a non UK but European company) nullifying the need for regulatory approval.

6) Just this month China's Haier takes over General Electric's applicance unit for $5.4 billion Haier immediately becomes a global player thanks to the deal.  Quingdao a state owned enterprise now runs the show !

then of course there were other pivotal deals made within the last two years such as Lenovo's purchase of Motorola making it the world's number three player in the smartphone market - this doesn't even take into account Huawei, the world's largest telecommunications equipment maker that just launched its own smartphone the Honor which is already becoming popular in the UK and the Huawei Y3, the cheapest smartphone in the UK

February 2016 : Xiaomi to start selling smartphones in the United States for first time.

United States Losing Companies Not Just To China

Biggest Insurer Chubb Corporation uses Ace Limited Takeover to form Chubb Limited a new Switzerland based company.  That means the United States lost Aon and Chubb to Europe in just two years !

Gold - Don't Buy Into The Hype At Least For Now

  • US dollar decline makes gold cheaper in other currencies - if the US dollar strengthens then the price for foreigners in foreign currencies will remain relatively unchanged because a stronger dollar is correlated with lower gold price.
  • China gold imports from Hong Kong down 84%
  • Gold to silver ratio is still very high - if we were in midst of a bull market the ratio would have contracted
  • Despite 17% rally in prices to start the year three days ago major bank paribas reiterated its position that gold will go below $1000 later this year.
  • goldman sachs says price will end 2016 near the $1000 level.
  • more rate hikes from the fed are inevitable and that will push gold down.  

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