Monday, 23 July 2007

Barclays , ABN Amo and China

The news that Barclays has turbocharged its bid for ABN Amro with an investment of £10 billion from the Chinese and Singaporean governments should send a warning sign to employees, governments and regulators in the West. Robert Peston in his blog brings together the issues very well.

My view is this. If the Chinese government was just taking a stake, looking for a higher return than on US T bonds, then fine. But we shouldn't be naive; this is lining Barclays up for a takeover. And let's be clear this would not a takeover by a commercial bank with an interest in employees, customers and other stakeholders. This would be a takeover by an arm of the unelected, undemocratic, communist government of China. That, in my view and the view of many others, is unacceptable.

And don't forget, the reason that foreign banks only have stakes in Chinese banks and not outright control, and that applies pretty much across the board in China, is that the state doesn't want foreign ownership of Chinese business. They want to build their own giants and use them to take over our companies and take our technology and jobs.

And while I fully accept that the Chinese people have every right to a more prosperous future, we should be careful that it doesn't damage ours.

No comments: