When talking about the proposed merger between automakers SAIC and NAC in Red China, a lot is being discussed as though it were a done deal, where SAIC acquires 100 per cent of NAC (including the MG brand) and NAC gets some stock in the new company. And with good reason.
Former premier Jiang Zemin has a lot of friends in Shanghai. It’s a nice way of saying that the power base in the Beijing Politburo is inﬂuenced by Shanghai politicians, home of SAIC. And in turn, as I had said, SAIC has some inﬂuence on the NRDC, the National Reform and Development Commission which controls these enterprises’ fates.
Let’s not kid ourselves with all this market economy–Olympic build-up stuff: this is a totalitarian communist dictatorship we are talking about. And it shows in the way the SAIC–NAC merger has been handled, reminding the west of the real political situation and undoing the goodwill of the Olympics’ lead-up.
A government putting pressure on the companies controlling MG, Austin, Morris, some of the remnants of Rover and a local bus manufacturer to band together to create an ultra-large national company? And to do so without regard to the individual brands’ strengths and how they might compete in export markets? Hang on, that sounds familiar. And I had hoped that we Chinese, with such interest in history, would have been able to learn from the British experience. Maybe these companies will yet.
Otherwise, by year’s end, expect a company called the Chinese Motor Corporation to emerge, building some new cars, some buses, and some other cars well past their sell-by date.
Where’s Jim Slater these days? Posted by Jack Yan, 23:12
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