When foreign strategic investors were invited to take stakes in Chinese banks, the word “strategic” had a clear meaning for their hosts.
The banks were supposed to stay in for the long term, and that’s why they had the chance to buy big stakes at bargain prices. Yet many have behaved like “foreign speculative investors”, as they are now called in China — they took the cheap deal and then flipped the shares for a fast profit.
Chinese banks looked to the West for access to capital, risk management and exposure to fast growing and sexy new products. But now China no longer needs as much foreign investment.
Meanwhile some of the fancy new financial products China once craved have turned out to be toxic, and the risk management skills of the so-called teachers from the West look tarnished in the wake of the credit crunch.