《经济学人》:胡主席的锦囊妙计
日期:2011-07-08 10:58

(单词翻译:单击)

Hu's coup
胡的精囊妙计

Why a tiny deal by a Chinese bank in America matters
为什么中国银行的小小生意能够影响美国

THE price is so trivial it will not have a discernible impact on the buyer, ICBC, the Chinese bank that is the world’s biggest by value. By the time the acquisition is approved, it may well have been forgotten by most outsiders. And yet, it could be a transformative deal whose full implications will take years to emerge.

如此微不足道的价格,对于坐拥世界最大市值的中国工商银行这种买家来说恐怕没什么显而易见的影响。等它的战略价值被众所周知的时候,这笔买卖可能早就已经被大多数局外人抛诸脑后了。但它的变革性意义将在数年之后完整地突显出来。

Almost lost amid the many transactions signed on January 21st to coincide with the visit of China’s President Hu Jintao to America was an agreement by ICBC to buy 80% of the Bank of East Asia’s small, almost profitless, retail-branch network in New York and California for $140m. If approved, the transaction would be significant because for the first time a Chinese mainland bank would have activities operating under America’s regulatory framework. But its importance goes beyond that. A tick in the box by American regulators, expected by the end of the year, would mean that they have endorsed the soundness of China’s government controlled and politically directed banking system. That has been a barrier to Chinese banks expanding in America.

中国工商银行将以1亿4000万美元购得东亚银行于纽约和加利福尼亚的两家小到几乎毫无收益可言的零售业务银行及其运营网络。这份于1月21日签署的合同几乎被遗忘在随中国国家主席胡锦涛的美国之行而来的众多交易之中。然而一旦其获准生效,这笔交易将是有意义的,因为这是中国大陆银行首次于美国控制的框架下运营。而且它的重要性远不止于此。这对于美国的管理者来说是一个标志,这意味着到今年末的时候,他们就等于赞同了中国政府控制,政治导向的银行系统。而这在过去一直是中国银行在美国扩展的阻碍。

In recent years American supervisors have stopped short of granting full approval for Chinese firms, instead allowing them only to provide wholesale services to companies. Even then, in at least one case, supervisors have insisted that the permit be contingent on further improvements in the Chinese firm’s operating procedures. A licence for a retail operation must pass a higher threshold since local branches will be covered by America’s deposit-insurance umbrella. That, in turn, involves approving not only the operations of the bank that is entering America but also its home regulator, to ensure it is shipshape—in the jargon, that it can provide “consolidated comprehensive supervision”. In theory, the Federal Reserve’s examiners will now need access to the operations not only of China’s largest bank but of its regulators.

近年来美国监管者已经停止了对中国公司完整授权许可的短缺控制,取而代之的是仅仅允许他们为其他公司提供大规模金融批发服务。即使那样,至少在个案来说,监管者们已经坚持了颁发许可证取决于中国企业自身运营状况的程序。由于本土银行分支机构位于美国储蓄保险的保护伞下,取得零售金融服务的执照必须通过更高的门槛。如此一来,获准进入美国市场不仅关乎银行自身的运作,还关乎它本国的管理者是否能够保证它的“整洁干净”——用行业术语来说,就是它能够提供“牢靠并且系统的监管”。理论上来说,联邦储备审查官员现在需要批准的运营系统不仅属于中国最大的银行,还属于它的母国管理者。

Allowing Chinese banks into America may deepen the two countries’ banking links. American firms have been able to operate in China and collect deposits for several years—Citigroup is one of the largest foreign firms on the mainland. But all such operations are strictly limited and usually subdued by red tape. As a result foreign firms’ market share in China has long stagnated at under 2%. Some suggest the ICBC decision may be tied to further opening to foreigners by the Chinese, but if so this quid pro quo will not be part of the formal regulatory framework, but part of a quiet political bargain.

允许中国银行进入美国或许会加深两个国家的金融联系。美国公司数年前就已经能够在中国运营并且收集存款——花旗集团是中国大陆最大的外资企业之一。但所有的这些运作都被严格限制而且常常被迫屈服于拖拉费时的繁琐手续。其结果就是外资金融企业在中国的市场份额沉滞在2%以下。一些人士估计工商银行进入美国的选择或许意味着中国人对外国人的进一步开放,但如果真是这样的话,这点补偿费显然不是正式调整框架的一部分,顶多算是政治上的讨价还价。

Chinese banks are not about to conquer the world. ICBC, which has the most expansive instincts, has made a few small acquisitions in Asia and is expanding its network of branches elsewhere, but remains an overwhelmingly domestic outfit. The proposed deal will fit with its desire to keep a low profile. The seller, Bank of East Asia, is already foreign, being a Hong Kong-based firm with close ties to China. Since its American operations are small, with assets of only some $700m, and its client base is largely tied to Chinese businesses, the change of control is unlikely to spark any reaction from customers or competitors. Public comments are being minimised to avoid inflaming popular and political passions in America.

中国的银行并不打算征服世界。即使是最具有扩张本能的中国工商银行,也只是在亚洲取得了少数新的市场,并把它的运营网络分支扩展到了其他地方,但始终保持着压倒性的国内机构配置。这份被提上议程的交易符合了它只希望保持基础收益的打算。而卖方,东亚银行,早已经外来化,依靠位于香港的母公司与中国保持紧密联系。由于它在美国的营运份额小到只有7亿美元资产,而它的客户基础与中国商业具有广泛联系,所以这次控制权的交接不大可能激起顾客或者竞争对手的强烈反应。为了避免激起公众及政治偏见,公开评论已经被最小化。

If the deal is approved, ICBC’s subsequent role in the American market will largely depend on its ambitions. A big acquisition would place it once again before a regulatory review, and, on the basis of past experience in other industries, generate a firestorm of controversy in America. It may prefer to grow organically, since it would probably enjoy full operating rights, while its healthy profits give it the resources to expand at will. It should have the same legal standing as any American bank, which is to say the right to do business. Americans can hardly whinge that the biggest bank from the world’s second-biggest economy has a growing presence in their country. They will hope, though, that if its local operation fails, it won’t have to be bailed out by Uncle Sam.

如果这笔生意获准,中国工商银行之后在美国市场的角色将很大程度取决于它的野心。如果赶在监管审查之前,一个庞大的机构将再一次就被设置,根据其他产业的以往经验,这会在美国导致一场论战的大爆发。由于想要完整的运作权,它或许更喜欢循序渐进的增长方式,逐步依靠它的良好收益将资源随意配置增长。它应该会取得像美国其他银行一样的合法地位,通俗点说就是做买卖的权利。对于这份来自世界第二大经济体中的最大银行送上门的礼物,美国人可没什么好抱怨的。相反,他们会希望当工行的本土运作失败的时候,山姆大叔不会将它扫地出门。

背景新闻:

2011年1月23日——中国工商银行股份有限公司(“工商银行”)与东亚银行有限公司(“东亚银行“)今天联合宣布,双方已就美国东亚银行股权买卖交易达成协议,并于2011年1月21日(美国中部时间)在芝加哥签署了股份买卖协议。

根据双方签署的协议,工商银行将向东亚银行支付约1.4亿美元的对价,收购美国东亚银行80%的股权,东亚银行持有剩余20%的股权。同时,东亚银行还拥有卖出期权,可在本交易完成后,按双方协议约定的条款和日期,将其剩余股份转让给工商银行。双方将随后履行监管报批手续。交易完成后,工商银行将负责美国东亚银行的营运和管理。

亚心网讯:工商银行董事长姜建清先生表示:“此次交易达成协议,对双方而言是双赢的选择。收购美国东亚银行的80%股权,将使工商银行获得美国商业银行牌照,填补工商银行在美零售银行牌照的空白,进一步拓展在美国的机构和业务网络,提升工商银行在美机构的经营实力。”

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重点单词
  • subduedadj. 减弱的;被制服的;被抑制的 v. 使服从,压制
  • emergevi. 浮现,(由某种状态)脱出,(事实)显现出来
  • coincidevi. 同时发生,符合,一致
  • limitedadj. 有限的,被限制的 动词limit的过去式和过去
  • avoidvt. 避免,逃避
  • deepenvt. 使 ... 加深,使 ... 强烈 vi. 加深
  • coupn. 政变,砰然的一击,妙计,出乎意料的行动
  • controversyn. (公开的)争论,争议
  • networkn. 网络,网状物,网状系统 vt. (以网络)覆
  • contingentadj. 可能性,经验主义的,不可预知的,附带的 n.