Sam Tsui: China’s Overseas Investments

December 22, 2018

This episode I’m speaking with Sam Tsui, Managing Director of Evolution Advisors, a boutique advisory and investment firm specializing in helping corporates and investors find and and execute on deals in Asia. Before that—for about a decade—Sam worked for Microsoft, identifying acquisitions and partnerships across Asia Pacific.

Our topic this episode: China’s global expansion. Trump’s attempts to curtail it in recent weeks has riled the Chinese in recent weeks, but can anything stave off the Mainland’s appetite to grow their presence?

For some, the thought of a walled-in China as an imperial power may seem like a novelty, but to the people and nations of Asia Pacific it’s a matter of historical record. For thousands of years, the Chinese were on the move, welcoming tribute from its smaller neighbors. Are we seeing the aspirational engines of Chinese ambition beginning to turn again? Where landgrab and patronage served the interests of Imperial China in centuries past, it’s now data that seems the target.

We’ve talked about the power and delicacy of data on previous programs. In my discussion with Ogilvy’s Chris Graves we looked at how – with enough data – behaviors can be shaped and manipulated. In our episode with Anurag Banerjee, it became terrifying apparent how data can be leveraged for good and evil. We’ve also spoken widely with the likes of Fortune’s Clay Chandler, The Conference Board’s David Hoffman, and many others about the rise of China Inc.

But how real is this? And where does xenophobia enter in? The way the world portrays a country in the eyes of the consumer means something. So it is that as the US and other nations stoke fears on China, reservations naturally rise.

How does the growing anti-Chinese rhetoric impact China’s overseas investment strategy? This is the shape of the cultural clash that Chinese capital runs into when it moves overseas. How China reshapes its image abroad may tell us more about its potential for future success than any amount of money it could throw at overseas buying opportunities.

As always, thanks for listening.

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