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Guo Guangchang, chairman of Fosun, explains his vision of the shared journey with Hauck & Aufhäuser.
Hauck & Aufhäuser is a private bank imbued with a sense of tradition, independence, and entrepreneurship. How do you feel after successfully completing this acquisition?
This is very good news – I am pleased about the positive decision. We are very proud to have such a valuable asset as Hauck & Aufhäuser in our portfolio. For us, this is a strategic investment that will give us excellent access to the leading economies in Europe, and which we believe will lead to further investment opportunities in the future.
When Fosun announced in July last year that it wanted to acquire Hauck & Aufhäuser, you said that, from a long-term perspective, the bank fits perfectly into your investment philosophy. What exactly do you mean by this?
We are constantly searching for long-term investment opportunities and are strong advocates of strategic acquisitions that, over the long term, create added value and better opportunities for growth for both partners – that is, for Fosun and the companies we invest in. We can sustainably strengthen the market position of Hauck & Aufhäuser in Germany and Europe and, at the same time, open up very attractive investment prospects in Europe for investors and companies from China and other Asian markets.
Hauck & Aufhäuser’s customers will significantly benefit from the access that Fosun can open up for them to the enormous opportunities for growth and investment in China and other Asian markets.
GUO GUANGCHANG, CHAIRMAN OF FOSUN
What is your key message to the customers of Hauck & Aufhäuser – what can they expect from Fosun as the new owner of the bank?
Fosun places its strategic focus on the areas of wellbeing, health, and happiness. As a private bank with a strong brand and a clear business model, Hauck & Aufhäuser has an excellent customer base and a skilled management team at its disposal. We expressly support its existing business activities. Over the coming months, we will define the future strategy of the bank. We want the bank to remain independent in the future and to become an even more capable and profitable partner than it already is. We are convinced that the customers of Hauck & Aufhäuser will greatly benefit from the new growth strategy.
What, in your view, are Hauck & Aufhäuser’s strengths, and where do you see the biggest opportunities for private and institutional clients of Hauck & Aufhäuser in terms of Fosun’s plans for growth?
We greatly appreciate its long tradition, its independence, its skills, and the trusting relationships Hauck & Aufhäuser has built up over the years with its customers as a private bank with a strong brand and a clear business model. Hauck & Aufhäuser’s customers will significantly benefit from the access that Fosun can open up for them to the enormous opportunities for growth and investment in China and other Asian markets. In recent times, China’s economy has experienced sustained growth of five to eight percentage points, and this will continue for the next five to ten years. The growth momentum will also change. While the enormous boom of the last three decades was primarily due to the construction industry, housing construction, industrial production, and infrastructure development, the main driver in the future will be private consumption. This will open up numerous investment opportunities for international investors.
The strategic focus of Fosun is aligned toward the areas of wellbeing, health, and happiness – what effect will this have on Hauck & Aufhäuser’s business in Germany and Europe?
China has a rapidly growing prosperous and aging middle class, which strives to achieve a better quality of life and invests in a higher standard of living. I believe that individual wellbeing will become a key driver of growth for almost half of the 1.3 billion Chinese people. These people want to discover the world. They are interested in leisure and entertainment programs. Moreover, they want a healthier, better life for themselves and their families. With the support of Hauck & Aufhäuser, we will be able to identify opportunities for investment on the German and European market that will reflect the rapidly growing needs of the Chinese middle class.
Recently, you said that you see more opportunities for investment in the United Kingdom and the EU as a result of the Brexit decision. How can Hauck & Aufhäuser support Fosun in its investment projects in Europe now that the British have chosen to leave the EU?
The Brexit decision has increased the number of investment opportunities, because companies will now adapt to this decision and prepare themselves for a new political and economic reality. Hauck & Aufhäuser has a valuable network of customers and business partners at its disposal and its insight into a wide range of sectors and companies is excellent. We can leverage both in order to investigate opportunities for investment in the United Kingdom and Europe.
China is on a shopping spree in Germany. The reactions have been mixed. What do you say about the concerns, for example, with regard to technology transfer or IT security?
Chinese companies have always admired German companies for their acknowledged expertise and the excellent quality of their products and services. Germany has a unique leading position, above all, in the fields of technology, manufacturing, and industrial production. This leading role will become even more important in the light of the highly automated, smart production processes of the Industry 4.0 era. Therefore, the increasing desire of Chinese companies to invest in Germany is, for me, not only understandable and justifiable, but also means there will be great opportunities for growth for both economies. We can help German companies access industrial sectors and B2C markets in China. I firmly believe that these investments will be beneficial for both sides and will contribute to boosting jobs and prosperity in both countries. And, most importantly, Hauck & Aufhäuser and Fosun will act as a bridge between China and Germany. This is a great opportunity for us.
What role will Hauck & Aufhäuser play in Fosun’s plans to act as intermediary for companies from Europe wanting to take their first steps in China? How can Fosun support customers in exploiting the new attractive investment opportunities in China?
We have a long history and a major presence in China. For more than 20 years, Fosun has grown successfully in a range of sectors and we have built up a large network of partners and customers. Our investment strategy aims to combine the yield and growth objectives of many global companies with the strong momentum of the Chinese market. We can help German and European companies with only limited opportunities for growth on their domestic markets to reach their full potential in China. Hauck & Aufhäuser will play a key role in facilitating access to the Chinese market for companies from Germany and Europe. And I am convinced that the link between Fosun and Hauck & Aufhäuser will offer extra benefits not only for the existing customers of the bank, but also for new private and institutional investors in the future.