After China’s Taiwan and Southeast Asia, the next step of expansion for CICT-HB (Hubei Information Technologies Investment) is Europe. It has its own “blueprint” on overseas business layout.
“The size of our fund is 8 billion yuan, with 3 billion yuan of investment. The estimated total investment is 20 billion yuan, and the first phase is 5 billion yuan,” said Zhang Lei, director of the CICT-HB.
Headquartered in Wuhan and founded in 2019, this investment company specializes in information, communication, technology and other fields, covering its main businesses including equity investment, merger, acquisition and reorganization, debt investment and other capital-related businesses.
With strong competitive advantage in finance, part of which comes from the China Information Communication Technologies Group (CICT), a leading company in China’s communication industry, CICT-HB mainly engages in overseas mergers and acquisitions related to CICT’s businesses.
At present, CICT-HB has branch offices in Beijing and Shanghai, and plans to set up wholly-owned subsidiaries in Singapore and Germany.
CICT-HB has members formerly employed by the World Bank, McKinsey, Morgan Stanley and other international organizations, who have led and participated in investment projects totaling more than 30 billion yuan. Their rich resources and connections can facilitate the company to expand globally in R&D, production and marketing.
According to Zhang, CICT-HB has invested nearly 3 billion yuan in the Chinese mainland in recent years, mainly in the semiconductor industry. Last year, it invested more than 800 million yuan in a chip company.
With its focus shifting to the overseas market, CICT-HB has started to undertake some overseas projects, mainly with semiconductor companies with a scale of between 2 billion yuan and 10 billion yuan.
The Southeast Asian market is its first target.
“Politically speaking, Southeast Asian countries are more friendly to China compared with European countries. Especially under the influence of the Belt and Road Initiative, China’s image for them is improving,” Zhang explained.
“Also, the Southeast Asian market already has certain basis. And they have fewer restrictions on Chinese companies, especially in the semiconductor industry,” he added.
Malaysia is one of Asia’s most important semiconductor export markets, only smaller than Chinese mainland, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Chinese Taiwan. Singapore’s government has adapted its strategy on the semiconductor industry, offering a multi-billion-dollar incentive package to attract foreign investment. Vietnam, the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries also have certain basis in the industry.
The Chinese Taiwan market is the second target.
“Taiwan’s semiconductor industry is relatively mature and its manufacturing share in the world is relatively high.” Zhang said.
After these two markets, CICT-HB plans to enter Europe, and now schedules to set up a wholly-owned subsidiary in Germany.
With the rapid development of globalization, Chinese enterprises are playing increasingly important roles.
Hu Qimu, a commentator of Asia Pacific Daily, said that with China’s growing economic strength and industrial competitiveness in the global market, the trend of Chinese enterprises going global will inevitably change from goods and labor to capital and technology; from traditional infrastructure and labor-intensive capacity cooperation to new digital infrastructure and technology-intensive capacity cooperation; from product and capital export to international research and development cooperation and global digital governance cooperation.
CICT-HB’s overseas forays is an vivid example of this trend. Focusing on developing emerging industries with high technology content and added value such as the semiconductor industry, the company is committed to promoting the future development and industrialization process of information, science and technology, and 5G technology, which is in line with the general trend of Chinese enterprises going global, promoting technological upgrading while expanding the market.
Hu stressed that in this process, enterprises will face a more complex international business environment, and geopolitical risks will have a more profound impact on transnational operations. Therefore, it is urgent for the government to provide policy support for these enterprises.
Firstly, create a desirable host country atmosphere for enterprises to go global through national multilateral economic and trade cooperation mechanisms. Secondly, the tax burden of enterprises should be reduced from two aspects: overseas income and international double taxation. Thirdly, in terms of financing, encourage enterprises to participate in international cooperation on production capacity, resource and energy development, infrastructure construction, and international technology research and development by means of policy-based loans.