VIEs, as they are known, evade Chinese law, which prohibits foreign ownership of Chinese tech companies. Through a series of intricate contractual arrangements, however, these structures effectively give foreigners the economic benefits of ownership.
People believe that if Beijing were to publicly declare a VIE illegal—in other words, expropriate foreign ownership—it would be like setting off a nuclear weapon, shutting off new Chinese companies from foreign equity markets. Therefore, they believe it could not happen. The last-minute cancellation of the Ant Group IPO in Hong Kong and Shanghai last November, however, shows that Xi Jinping is willing to go to great lengths to protect his system.
China’s brand of communism, many forget, is inherently hostile to the private sector in general and foreigners in particular. The so-called “reform era”—the three decades following 1978 when Chinese leaders liberalized the Chinese economy and financial system and opened it to […]
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JD Rucker – EIC