Caine: May I ask, master? When I leave the temple, what will be expected of me?
Master Poe: To walk the roads of the land, and use what you have learned for the needs and benefit of the people.
Cain: Will I always know when to act and when to stand off?
Master Poe: That which you do not know, the doing will quickly teach you.

Kung Fu, Episode 26
For years there has been talk of Chinese companies coming to America. And for years, my law firm has been involved in such deals that quickly failed over something as minor as the Chinese company refusing to pay more than $5 million for something that was clearly worth at least $50 million.
Not entirely sure why, but Chinese companies have recently started getting much more sophisticated and serious. And FAST.
My law firm just started working on two deals where we are representing Chinese companies seeking to buy minority shares in well established American companies and things are actually progressing rather nicely. But because these deals are still ongoing I cannot discuss them in any detail. But I can discuss a completed deal of which I just read that is quite similar to our two, though on a much bigger scale. The Wall Street Journal just came out with a story, entitled, “Haier to Take 20% Stake in New Zealand Company,” detailing Haier’s minority share purchase in NZ’s Paykel & Fisher.
The deal gives Haier “exclusive rights to sell Fisher & Paykel appliances in China, while its New Zealand counterpart can exclusively sell Haier’s products in Australia and New Zealand.” Haier says this deal will allow it “to share the marketing, and research and development resources of Fisher & Paykel in the high-end whiteware market.” Fisher & Paykel says it will give it “a unique opportunity to fully globalize Fisher & Paykel Appliances and really drive our global expansion into parts of the world that had previously been very difficult for us to penetrate.”
I see this as a brilliant move by both companies, as it will almost certainly very quickly achieve the following:
— Give F&P the money it needs to keep operating.
— Give F&P easier access to low cost manufacturing.
— Give F&P easier access to Asian markets.
— Give Haier a bit of high end panache, thereby helping build its brand and solidifying its reputation as one of China’s most respected companies.
— Give Haier access to F&P’s globalization, marketing, and engineering skills.
I see many of the same reasons for the parties in our deals as well and I see a ton more of these deals, both large and small, coming down the pike in the next few years. Get ready.
In fact, a very reputable Chinese PE fund has asked me to be on the lookout for US buying opportunities. This fund is looking to pay between $5 to $20 million for all or a portion of small US companies with a strong brand name that are failing to or unable to take advantage of cheaper manufacturing in China. Its thinking is that it will be able to do exactly what Fisher & Paykel is seeking to do with Haier: cut production costs while also expanding the product’s global reach.
What are you seeing out there?

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Dan Harris

I am a founder of Harris Bricken, an international law firm with lawyers in Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, China and Spain.

I mostly represent companies doing business in emerging market countries. It has taken me many years to build my network and it takes constant communication and travel to maintain it. My work has been as varied as securing the release of two improperly held helicopters in Papua New Guinea, setting up a legal framework to move slag from Canada to Poland’s interior, overseeing hundreds of litigation and arbitration matters in Korea, helping someone avoid terrorism charges in Japan, and seizing fish product in China to collect on a debt.

I was named as one of only three Washington State Amazing Lawyers in International Law, I am AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory (its highest rating), I am rated 10.0 by AVVO.com (its highest rating), and I am a SuperLawyer.

I am a frequent writer and public speaker on doing business in Asia and I constantly travel between the United States and Asia. I most commonly speak on China law issues and I am the lead writer of the award winning China Law Blog (www.chinalawblog.com). Forbes Magazine, Fortune Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, Business Week, The National Law Journal, The Washington Post, The ABA Journal, The Economist, Newsweek, NPR, The New York Times and Inside Counsel have all interviewed me regarding various aspects of my international law practice.

I am licensed in Washington, Illinois, and Alaska.

In tandem with the international law team at my firm, I focus on setting up/registering companies overseas (via WFOEs, Rep Offices or Joint Ventures), drafting international contracts (NDAs, OEM Agreements, licensing, distribution, etc.), protecting IP (trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights and patents), and overseeing M&A transactions.