Chinese business leaders look to acquire strong foreign brands, management skills
China's top business leaders hope the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China will put forward more policies to encourage overseas investment to meet demand from both Chinese and foreign companies.
Hua Guikan, assistant president of Sanpower Group, a Nanjing-based private company with total assets of 120 billion yuan ($17.8 billion), said Chinese companies' demand to invest overseas has surged along with their rapid development over the past five years.
"Policies of the past five years, such as supply-side reforms and the emphasis on consumption, benefit our group greatly," Hua said. "Our intent is to make and sell good products and acquire foreign companies to introduce their advanced management experience."
Yuan Yafei, the billionaire chairman and founder of the group, said acquisitions will help introduce quality brands, advanced management systems and business models to China, while taking China's products to the world.
"Sanpower doesn't simply acquire real estate or mineral resources," Yuan said. "Instead, we buy advanced brands, management systems and business models. We believe that China has a bright future, and our acquisitions help to build such a future."
Dai Keqin, general manager of Sanpower's legal affairs management center, said Chinese companies that have maintained stable, quality growth, have been invited to invest in foreign countries. For example, Sanpower Group has been invited to invest in Switzerland by the country's consulate general in Shanghai.
"In the past, when we talked about attracting investment, we generally meant attracting foreign companies to invest in China," he said. "Nowadays when we talk about it, we often mean foreign countries trying to attract us to invest there."
"One day when a foreign enterprise was giving us an outline of its country's investment environment and policies, I suddenly realized that it's not just our enterprise that is developing rapidly but also China's overall economy and importance," Dai said.
Founded in 1993, Sanpower is ranked 21st on China's 500 Strongest Private Companies List and 124th in the list of China's 500 Strongest Companies by the All China Federation of Industry and Commerce.
With five pillar business units－healthcare, information services, commerce, financial services and real estate－the company's total annual sales have hit 130 billion yuan.
As the deputy Party chief of the group, Dai said private companies have become increasingly important in the country's economy and overseas investment since 2012 and the 18th CPC National Congress.
Dai said the group has increased its overseas investment since 2014, when it acquired House of Fraser, a British retailer. In July this year, it completed the acquisition of Dendreon, a Seattle-based maker of the prostate cancer vaccine Provenge, from Canada's Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc for $819.9 million.
Sanpower also has important acquisitions in Israel and the United States, and about 40,000 overseas workers. In the past two years, it spent about $4.2 billion on domestic and outbound acquisitions.
Dai said he hopes the 19th CPC National Congress will help solve the fundraising hurdles that many private companies are facing, and give their development a boost.
Hua added: "The central government should also put forward more detailed policies to encourage companies' overseas investment. Governments at different levels should use their official platforms to support Chinese companies' overseas investment, encourage economic and trade exchanges and boost communications between Chinese and foreign governments and companies."