China’s Overseas M&A Moment: Buying Up the World’s Corporations?
“We were like a poor farm boy pursuing a famous movie star,” said Li Shufu, Chairman of Chinese automaker Geely. Li was comparing Sweden’s Volvo to a famous movie star being pursued by his lesser-known Chinese firm, Geely during its 2010 acquisition. But Li was not always a prominent business figure in the global automobile industry. He began his entrepreneurial endeavors in 1982 at age 19 when he bought a camera with his high school graduation money and began a small-scale photography business, taking photos of tourists for a modest fee. This operation later evolved into a photography studio where he also sold handmade camera accessories. His real-world “postgraduate studies” in entrepreneurship continued in 1984 when he invested his earnings from the photography business to open a refrigerator parts company. At first he produced parts for other factories, but eventually he founded his own refrigerator company.
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