Police and private security forces raided the headquarters on June 29
China enticed an American entrepreneur with the opportunity of helping build a cutting-edge automobile company in the world’s largest car market, then used the uncertainty cast by COVID-19 to steal his intellectual property, the businessman says.
Steve Saleen, founder of specialty high-performance sports car manufacturer Saleen Automotive, and his partner Charles Wang, a Chinese immigrant and former attorney at a New York law firm, were approached in late 2015 about forming a joint venture with the city of Rugao to manufacture automobiles.
The deal “offered, I thought, from my standpoint, a great opportunity to help build a global company,” Saleen told FOX Business.
The agreement that was reached called for Saleen to contribute his brand and trademarks, designs for three engineered vehicles and experience, know-how and technology in manufacturing automobiles, he said. Those contributions were valued at $800 million.
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WNU Editor: I have done a few ventures in China, and over the years I have heard more than my fair of share of disasters like the one above. I have been lucky. I have been blessed with good Chinese partners on an individual/municipal/provincial level. My partners were people who were motivated to sacrifice and work together for success. Your success was their success, and vice versa. In the case above, the motivation among this Chinese municipal government was to exploit and steal …. and they have been successful. There is no recourse for the Americans. Chinese contract law is arbitrary and not consistent, and they will never support the position of foreign interests. So what is my advice for those who want to do business in China. It is actually very simple. Take the time to know who your Chinese partners are. Their families. Their friends. Get drunk together. Play golf together. Invite them to your home. They invite you to theirs. Work on that for 2,3, or more years. And after that do business. My Godfather gave me this advice decades ago and is also applicable here. You can write up a contract that is the size of a telephone book. But if one of the partners has malevolent intentions, that contract will be circumvented. So take the time to know who you are working with, and after that take the risk/opportunity.