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UBS moves to up stake in China securities joint venture

UBS has applied to buy out two minority investors in its China joint venture, boosting its stake in Beijing-based UBS Securities to 67%. The bank’s strong and long-standing relationship with the owner of the other 33%, a division of Beijing local government, is a timely reminder that there is no one right model for success in China.

UBS has a presence in China, including Shanghai. Photo: Reuters

UBS moved on Friday to deepen control of its securities joint venture (JV) in mainland China, by bidding to buy out two minority shareholders.

If successful, it will raise the Swiss lender’s stake in Beijing-based UBS Securities to 67% from 51%. UBS has not disclosed how much it is paying. A media spokesman in Hong Kong declined to comment.

It is a timely reminder not just of China’s clear commitment to opening its financial market to foreign competition but to the fact there is no one right way to carve out a workable strategy in Asia’s largest economy.

Walking own path

For better or worse, each foreign institution has its own approach, timetable and set of long-term ambitions – and that is unlikely to change.

The two selling shareholders are Guangdong Provincial Communication Group and China Guodian Capital Holdings. The first is putting its 14.01% stake in UBS Securities up for sale; the second, its stake of 1.99%.