January 14, 2010 / 6:05 AM / in 8 years

Factbox: Foreign firms that withdrew from China

(Reuters) - Google, the world’s top Internet search engine, threatened to shut its Chinese-language Google.cn website and offices in China, saying a massive cyber-attack from China had resulted in theft of its intellectual property.

Here are some foreign companies that have withdrawn from or sold down their investments in the world’s third largest economy:


- In 2007, media conglomerate Time Warner Inc. offloaded the cinemas it ran in China to local partners after Beijing tightened restrictions in 2005, requiring foreigners to give control to Chinese partners.


- Ebay pulled out of China in 2006, folding its China operations into a joint venture with Tom Online where Tom got the controlling share. Ebay’s departure was due to stiff competition from Taobao, a unit of China’s largest e-commerce firm, Alibaba Group.


- Australia’s biggest brewer, Foster’s Group Ltd, sold its Shanghai brewing business and local Chinese beer brands to Suntory Ltd for an undisclosed amount in 2006, on the back of fierce competition in the China market.


- In 2005 Yahoo! Inc folded its China business into Alibaba Group, making a $1 billion investment in exchange for a 40 percent stake in the Chinese company.


- Dutch grocer Royal Ahold NV sold its loss-making supermarket operations in China in 1999, as it was unable to compete with cheaper domestic competitors.


- Fashion retailer Giordano International was forced to close several outlets in China between 1994 and 1996 after founder Jimmy Lai called then-premier Li Peng a “turtle egg” — a serious insult in Chinese — following the 1989 military crushing of student-led democracy demonstrations centered on Tiananmen Square.

Lai later relinquished his position at the retailer under pressure and expanded his media empire to Taiwan.


- Privately owned Levi Strauss & Co of San Francisco pulled out of China in 1993 over human rights concerns at a time when demand for jeans there was soaring. It later returned to the country.

Compiled by Ben Blanchard, Melanie Lee, Lucy Hornby and Benjamin Kang Lim; Editing by Alex Richardson

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