Chinese outward M&A: next year's big thing?

Is China Netcom''s acquisition of Asia Global Crossing a leading indicator of what''s to come?

On the face of it, Asia Global Crossing's AGC decision earlier this week to sell its assets and operations to a consortium led by China Netcom might be viewed as evidence that the advance of Chinese companies into overseas markets is gaining further momentum.

The deal is the latest in a series of tentative forays by Chinese companies into foreign territories, following a general post-deregulation pattern of Chinese companies internationalizing their operations through acquisitions of overseas assets or listings on foreign exchanges. Other recent transactions include the acquisition by CNOOC of oilfields in Indonesia Repsol and Australia, as well as Indonesian petroleum assets by PetroChina.

It is tempting to imagine the floodgates opening as...

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