In 2009, Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co Ltd (BAIC), a state-owned holding company, acquired intellectual property rights and production equipment from Saab Automobile, a Swedish carmaker owned by General Motors (GM) that had fallen to hard times. To understand the motive and process of the acquisition, we interviewed two senior managers in BAIC in March 2011. We found that although BAIC was offered ownership of Saab’s entire operations, BAIC decided to purchase only the technology that they needed in order to achieve their goal of creating their own brands. BAIC learned from the mistakes made by previous Chinese acquisitions and pushed for technology acquisitions rather than operations acquisitions with Saab. The success of the acquisition, for the most part, was credited to several members of the purchasing team who had prior experience working internationally for Western automobile companies. They played a key role in identifying the technologies required for BAIC to reach its goal of developing its proprietary car.
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