New CFC Report on Assessing Risk in PE Investment in China

China First Capital Report on Assessing Risk in PE Investment in China

“Risk and Reward.  They are the yin and yang of investing.”

So begins the latest of CFC’s Chinese-language research reports on risk and reward in private equity investment in China. The 18-page report (titled 风险与回报 in Chinese)  has just been published, and is downloadable via the CFC website by clicking this link:

The report’s goal, as stated in the introduction, is to “summarize the ways PE firms evaluate the risks of an investment opportunity so that entrepreneurs will better understand the decision-making process of PE firms, and so greatly improve the odds of succeeding in raising PE capital.” 

The report identifies five key areas of risk that private equity investors attempt to quantify, manage and where possible, mitigate: They are:

  1. 1.      Market Risk
  2. 2.      Execution Risk
  3. 3.      Technology Risk
  4. 4.      Political Risk 
  5. 5.      Due Diligence Risk

As far as we know, this is the first such detailed report prepared in Chinese, specifically for Chinese entrepreneurs. It was written with input from the entire CFC team, and represents a collation of our experiences in dealing both with the founders and owners of Chinese SME and the PE firms that invest in them. 

Few, if any, Chinese entrepreneurs have experience raising private equity capital, or for that matter, answering pointed questions about their business. So, the whole PE process will often seem to them to be odd and protracted. The report aims to increase entrepreneurs’ level of understanding ahead of any PE fund-raising process. The report puts it this way: 

“ The goal of PE firms is to lower risk when they invest, not completely eliminate it. Risk is a necessary part of any profit-making activity. The basic principle of all PE investing is finding the best “risk-adjusted return” – which means, the best ratio of risk to potential future profit.”

Some strategies for entrepreneurs to lower an investor’s risk are also discussed. It’s practically impossible to fully eliminate these risks. But, an entrepreneur will have an important ally in managing them, if successful in raising PE capital. 

PE investment in China is a process in which an entrepreneur give up sole proprietorship over the risks in his business. It’s a new concept for most of them. But, the results are almost always positive. A problem shared is a problem halved. 

We hope the report contributes to the continued growth and success of the PE industry in China.

It can also be enjoyed, for entirely other reasons, by anyone who shares my love of Song Dynasty porcelains. Some beautiful examples of Jun, Guan, Ge, Yaozhou, Cizhou and Longquan ceramics are used as illustrations. 

Some examples: