SMIC Transition Begins, Instability Ahead 中芯国际高层大动荡 公司或将陷入混乱

Less than two weeks after the first signs emerged that something was happening at the top of leading Chinese chipmaker SMIC (HKEx: 981; NYSE: SMI), the big power shift appears to have begun. Shanghai’s well-connected financial newspaper, Diyi Caijing, is reporting that SMIC’s CEO David Wang tendered his resignation yesterday, and that the company’s chief marketing officer has also resigned. (Chinese article) I would expect an official announcement from the company in the next day or two, and expect stock reaction will be muted when trading in the company’s Hong Kong-listed shares resumes. The transition, which should see a team of mainland Chinese managers take over from the current Taiwanese team, will bring both good news and bad news for the company, hence the mixed reaction. On the good side, it will end a period of uncertainty and instability for the company as the new leadership team is confirmed. But for the longer term, this new team is likely to bring more instability to the company as it has less experience than the outgoing year-old team, which managed to move SMIC into the black after four straight years of losses. I don’t know enough about the new team to really say how well it will perform. But knowing what I do about how big Chinese companies love to mix business with politics, I really don’t see this as a positive development for SMIC. If the company really wanted to introduce a new team of mainland-born managers, it should have done so in a much more orderly, transparent way than the chaos that has unfolded in previous weeks. The fact that this transition was so chaotic and disorderly probably reflects a similar chaos and disorder within the company’s board and top ranks, which can hardly bode well for it in the next one to two years.

Bottom line: SMIC is likely to see a period of instability and chaos following the departure of its current top management team in a highly disorganized manner.

一个多星期以前,中芯国际(0981.HK: 行情)(SMI.N: 行情)高层动荡初露端倪,现在巨变似乎已经开始。上海《第一财经日报》报导称,中芯国际首席执行官(CEO)王宁国昨日递交辞呈,公司首席营销官(CMO)季克非也已请辞。我预计该公司将在未来一两天发表正式声明,而中芯国际在港上市的股票恢复交易後,股价应该不会有太大反应。中芯国际此次高层动荡,基本是清理现有台湾高管,让大陆人取而代之,这对于公司来说喜忧参半,市场反应也是有好有坏。好的一面是,公司确定新的领导团队,将结束动荡和不确定性。但长期来看,经验不足的大陆高管接管公司,可能将带来更多动荡,毕竟台湾团队在公司连续四年出现亏损後,已帮助公司扭亏为盈。我对新管理层了解不多,无法预测其表现如何。但我了解中国大型企业多喜欢将商业和政治混为一谈,所以我不认为此次变动对中芯国际发展有利。如果该公司的确希望将管理层换血为大陆人,本应该采用更有序、更透明的方式,而不应出现近几周的混乱局面。事实是,中芯国际这次权力交接如此混乱无序,很可能反映出该公司董事会和高层本身的混乱局面,这对未来一两年的中芯国际来说很难是好兆头。


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