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        TOMORROW'S GLOBAL BUSINESS: Growth Markets

        Capital preservation or growth? The world is full of risks... but also new market opportunities. We help some of the world's most innovative companies overcome the challenges and take advantage of opportunities in the growth markets.

         
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        Case Study: Xiaomi
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        opinion-test
        Scott Flicker
        Partner, Corporate Department Sao Paulo
        CFIUS/Chinese Investment in the U.S.
        The pace of Chinese outbound M&A is clearly accelerating, with the U.S. remaining the most stable and desired destination for Chinese companies looking to hedge against domestic asset devaluation and support business and technological growth. This aligns with government policy to prioritize and support development of certain sectors, particularly technology.

        Increased Chinese investment in U.S. industries that are seen as “sensitive” or “critical” has also resulted in an uptick in CFIUS reviews of Chinese deals, leading to greater focus by deal parties on how the CFIUS process affects their timing and outcomes. The more sophisticated the target, the more likely a CFIUS filing will be warranted and entail a lengthy and searching review. In some cases (such as Fairchild Semiconductor’s recent rejection of a bid from China Resources Microelectronics and Hua Capital Management), U.S. firms are actually walking away from lucrative Chinese offers out of concern that the takeover might not survive CFIUS review.

        To address these issues, Chinese investors are exploring non-U.S. companies with a strong tech or engineering base. But this has its limitations. First, the U.S. is still home to a substantial number of companies undertaking cutting-edge R&D in technology and related areas. Second, even acquiring a non-U.S.-based company can generate CFIUS risks if the acquisition has U.S. business operations. This was the reason why CNOOC’s acquisition of Canadian company Nexen triggered a major CFIUS review—the target had operating assets in the Gulf of Mexico. Chinese outbound investors must be aware of the full range of potential CFIUS exposures in assessing potential deals.
        opinion-test
        Jong Han Kim
        Partner, Litigation and Corporate Department Seoul
        Korea
        On the corporate side, the major challenge facing Korea is to find new growth engines and markets in response to slowing growth in domestic and global economies. Korean companies are exploring new high-growth industries, such as biotech, electric cars, internet and mobile services, and renewable energy, in response to the slowing demand in traditional industries. Korean companies face difficult strategic decisions regarding these new businesses, primarily whether they should grow them organically or through M&A, and how to raise capital for these new businesses. At the same time, Korean companies also face the challenge of restructuring their existing businesses that are not competitive in the global markets. In the event that Korean companies engage in or pursue vigorous restructuring, there may be investment opportunities for our private equity clients or advisers who work with businesses to restructure distressed assets.

        On the litigation side, we expect Korean companies to continue to face the risks of international patent infringement and trade secret misappropriation lawsuits. Given the risks of adverse outcomes, which include injunctions barring exports of the infringing products, our clients face challenges and opportunities to take proactive measures. These include eliminating or reducing legal risks by invalidating competitors’ patents using PTAB proceedings, and establishing and implementing enhanced compliance programs, including a document retention policy.
        opinion-test
        Roberta Bassegio
        Partner, Corporate Department Sao Paulo
        Brazil
        Brazil is undergoing a political and economic crisis, which is creating unique challenges and opportunities. A critical issue for the interim government (which could turn into a permanent government if President Rousseff is impeached) is how to rebuild investors’ confidence in the country’s economy.

        President Temer is addressing this issue by building a strong and reliable cabinet, and launching programs such as the Investment Partnership Program (IPP), focused on developing new projects and on privatizing a large number of assets. We are seeing a lot of opportunities in the M&A area, not only those related to distressed assets or to the favorable exchange rate—which have been trends over the last year—but also those resulting from strategic local divestments and from the announced government privatizations.

        The main areas for M&A would include the energy, agribusiness, technology, education, health, and aviation sectors, as well as airport, road, and railroad privatizations and regulated markets. We also expect to continue to see a strong focus on restructuring, dispute resolution, and compliance activities. Finally, as Brazil continues to be a huge market with immense potential for growth, there is an acute need for large infrastructure development. Given that investment into Brazil has continued over the past few years, we believe there will be even greater opportunities for new project work, a revival of entrepreneurism, and support for business innovation and reform.
        opinion-test
        Michael Fitzgerald
        Partner, Corporate Department New York
        Mexico
        In recent years Mexico has enjoyed the healthiest economy in Latin America, with a GDP growth rate higher than the U.S., a middle class that is developing at a historic rate, and a good degree of political stability. The Mexican government is also making promising structural economic changes, such as allowing international investment in the energy sector for the first time in over 70 years. Over the past decade, Mexico has become more integrated with the rest of North America, helping to form a NAFTA economic block that is able to compete with the Asian economies as an efficient production center.

        In addition to massive investment expected to flow into the energy industry, the creation of the REIT structure in Mexico revolutionized real estate investment. Mexico has produced some of the world’s largest real estate companies in just six years since REITs were introduced. Whether it be real estate, consumer goods for Mexico’s burgeoning middle class, or the fast-growing aerospace and automotive industries, Mexico may now be the world’s most attractive emerging market for international investment.

        Nevertheless, many economic challenges remain. Global uncertainties have led to plummeting oil prices, and many companies have been hit by the sharp devaluation in the Mexico peso versus the U.S. dollar. With both commodity prices and currency rates remaining volatile, Mexican companies, together with their advisors, must be ready to react to these rapidly changing circumstances.
        opinion-test
        Vivian Lam
        Partner, Corporate Department Hong Kong
        Greater China
        Chinese investors and businesses operating in China have been facing challenges from the slowing Chinese economy, recent stock market turmoil, and devaluation of the yuan, as well as unpredictable regulatory interventions. Domestic market uncertainty has driven Chinese enterprises to accelerate their investments abroad to diversify risks. Chinese companies are aware that in today’s international low growth environment, competition for quality investments is intensifying. Nonetheless, we see increasing outbound opportunities in the next 12 months as the government continues to ease investment restrictions in line with its long term strategy to nurture private enterprises and encourage them to invest abroad.
         
         
         
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