Foreign firms to seek China M&A opportunities in 2010

Chinese companies will attract the lion's share of inbound M&A this year, according to FinanceAsia readers.

China looks set for an M&A boom in 2010, according to respondents to a FinanceAsia web poll. Almost half the 128 voters said that China will be the most popular country in the region for foreign acquirers this year.

That prediction is already on its way to being fulfilled, according to Dealogic, a market data provider. Inbound M&A hit a new record in China this January, with $13 billion of deals announced. This is more than double the volume in the same month in 2009 and 26% up on the previous best January on record -- January 2008 -- when $10.4 billion worth of deals were announced.

In total, 45% of respondents picked China as the top destination for inbound M&A in 2010, 21% said Australia, 17% India and the rest of the votes were split fairly evenly between Japan, South Korea and Elsewhere, which is basically Singapore and Hong Kong.

China might seem like an obvious choice, but it was not even close to being the top destination for inbound M&A in 2009 -- both Australia and Japan attracted more investment from international acquirers last year. Our readers are confident, but it remains to be seen if China will live up to its billing in 2010.

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