It’s been ten years since multinationals first began turning away from joint ventures in China as the preferred way to take part in the world’s hottest growth story. Many joint ventures failed to endure, and as multinationals gained experience in China, and foreign investment restrictions loosened, multinationals found it easier in many sectors to start a business from scratch—or to acquire an existing one outright—than to negotiate, establish, and manage a joint venture in the long term.
No longer. China’s hot growth has boosted valuations and increased competition for outright acquisitions of Chinese companies that are often less interested in being acquired. That makes joint ventures a more appealing option, and so does a growing pool of healthier prospective Chinese partners. All this is prompting some multinationals to reconsider the joint-venture approach as an alternate avenue for getting a stake in the continuing strength of China’s economy.