Beijing to let gray rhinos loose again? | Business News | SupChina

Beijing to let gray rhinos loose again?

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Last year, the People’s Daily began warning about “gray rhinoceroses” (灰犀牛 huī xīniú), as regulators started to scrutinize overseas spending sprees by some of China’s largest companies, like Wanda, HNA, Fosun, and Anbang.

The term “gray rhino” comes from the title of a book about large and obvious “dangers we ignore” until they start running too fast, or, as a People’s Daily explainer (in Chinese) puts it: “A gray rhino is massive, and responds slowly — you can see it clearly in the distance, but if it charges you, it will catch you off guard and gore you.”

Now the South China Morning Post reports that “Beijing might be softening its stance on outbound investment,” after last year’s “ruthless crackdown” on overseas acquisitions. In an interview (in Chinese) with Party house newspaper the People’s Daily, Minister of Commerce Zhōng Shān 钟山 also said “his ministry was keen to see private firms, like telecommunications equipment maker Huawei, carmaker Geely and heavy equipment manufacturer Sany become ‘renowned international brands.’”

Jeremy Goldkorn

Jeremy Goldkorn worked in China for 20 years as an editor and entrepreneur. He is editor-in-chief of SupChina, and co-founder of the Sinica Podcast.

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