Saturday, February 12, 2011

China Prepares Tough Hurdles For Mergers

China wants to have its cake and eat it too.  In a throwback to imperial China's historical insistence that foreigners kowtow and pay tribute, the Middle Kingdom is preparing to exact a new form of tribute from foreign investors:

Foreign investments in military, agriculture, energy and resources, key infrastructure, transport systems, key technology sectors and "important equipment manufacturers" may be subject to reviews, according to a statement published on the central government Internet portal,

This isn't merely a response to other countries' barriers to China's strategy of resource acquisitions.  Replace the words "national security" with "rare earth metals" and you'll see the hidden agenda.  China wants to ensure that foreign investment adds to its high-end manufacturing capability without surrendering control of its rare earth metals.  Note the article's comparison to Australia's own review board.  The common theme is that resource-rich countries seek to husband their deposits for the strategic advantage they confer.  Those investments that are permitted will be exclusively to China's advantage. Western corporations will pay a huge premium if they wish to secure their supply chains from China. 

The main driver of strategic conflict in the rest of the 21st Century will be a contest for resources in high-value manufacturing.  The main contestants will be China, India, and the Anglo-West's transnational corporations.  You heard it here first.