chapter  7
21 Pages

New forms of international business in East Asia

Two trends stand out in the American response to the recent financial crises that engulfed Korea and Thailand. On the one hand, specialist US firms, particularly investment banks and private equity funds, as well as the US Treasury Department were heavily involved in domestic market reform and business activity. On the other hand, the new investments and M&A of US firms lagged behind those pursued by other foreign firms. Although Korea and Thailand further opened their economies to foreign investors, US firms, on the whole, were slow to act on this opportunity during the short-to-medium term. In comparison, then, US reform advisors and specialized finance actors participated more extensively than the broader US corporate sector in these economies recovering from crisis. This outcome is surprising and the principal focus of the next two chapters is to explain limited American investment activity, while also more briefly examining the reasons for the aggressive actions of specialist US private actors and European companies in Korea and Thailand.