China carmaker may buy into GM's IPO

Logos for GM and SAIC

TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: After going bankrupt and getting bailed out by the U.S. government, GM -- General Motors -- may now sell a stake of its company to China's largest state-owned automaker, SAIC. The company has reportedly expressed an interest in buying GM shares for the company's IPO later this fall. The Chinese owning a portion of an American
icon may rattle some.

But as Marketplace's China bureau chief Rob Schmitz reports, it's a more natural partnership than you might think.


ROB SCHMITZ: GM sells more cars in China than in the U.S., thanks to its 13-year-old joint venture with SAIC. That's why you see more Buicks than Toyotas on Chinese roads. So SAIC wanting to own a share of GM is hardly shocking.

PAUL NEWTON: From an industry perspective, it makes a whole lot of sense.

That's IHS auto industry analyst Paul Newton. He says the two companies are already developing energy-efficient engines together, and GM has moved almost all its advanced technology development to new Chinese R&D labs.

NEWTON: So from the perspective of who owns them, then why a financial institution when you can have someone who has a complete vested interest in your success?

The relationship between GM and China is so cozy that the two are working on a communist propaganda film together. Coming to a theater not-so-near you: "Birth of a Party," a celebration of the 90th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party. The film's official sponsor? Cadillac.

In Shanghai, I'm Rob Schmitz, for Marketplace.

About the author

Rob Schmitz is Marketplace’s China correspondent in Shanghai.

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