Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

Minxin Pei

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Rights Information

© 2014 June Kim


China's transition from a planned economy to a market economy has brought about remarkably rapid economic growth. Year after year, China boasted of double-digit growth rates since the early 1990s. Attracted by China's so-called "economic miracle," foreign investors began entering the Chinese market hoping to benefit from the country's vast array of financial opportunities. Private equity, particularly a leveraged buyout, was an unfamiliar concept in China until late 1990s. Now China has become the most attractive destination among emerging markets for private equity investment. Global private equity firms are currently raising billions of dollars for funds focusing on China because of the potential for exceedingly high returns. In the early 2000s, there were several instances of the Chinese government approving large foreign private equity deals with a state-owned enterprises in industries deemed strategically sensitive. This is highly unusual because the Chinese government has been traditionally protective of sectors related to national or economic security. However, there were also cases when foreign private equity deals failed to gain regulatory approval even though the Chinese firm was not in a sensitive industry. This paper aims to illuminate the reasons behind this anomaly. By investigating the factors that Chinese regulators consider when reviewing private equity proposals through an analysis of four case studies, this paper will reveal a facet of China's evolving market economy. Based on the parallels drawn from the case studies along with other formidable challenges, this paper proposes that the future of China's private equity market may not be as promising as anticipated by foreign investors.