The Business Research and Training Centre (BRTC) under the Faculty of Business Administration (FBA) of the University of Macau (UM) and Nankai University’s China Academy of Corporate Governance (CACG) jointly held an online forum on the expansion and governance of multinational companies. Participants analysed multinational companies’ overseas mergers and acquisitions and discussed the theoretical framework for studying the governance of multinational companies. In the end, participants reached the conclusion that the pandemic, although severe, cannot stop the trend of trade and investment globalisation, and the governance of multinational companies will become an important and challenging topic.

Three distinguished individuals were invited to speak at the forum, namely Dr Zhang ZhanKui, former chief financial officer of the Aluminium Corporation of China Limited; Prof Runhui Lin, a professor at Nankai University; and Mr Liu Xingbao, assistant general manager of Tewoo Energy Resources Development Co Ltd. Dr Zhang talked about Chinese multinational companies’ overseas mergers and acquisitions. By delving into the intricacies of the acquisition of the Brazilian company Rin Rinto and Peru’s Copper and Guinea’s Bauxite, he shared his company’s experience and lessons learned in terms of strategy formulation, goal setting, as well as risk assessment and mitigation. He concluded that political uncertainty, economic crises, and other emergencies are the most serious challenges in overseas mergers and acquisitions.

Prof Lin presented a new theoretical framework for studying the governance of multinational companies, which he jointly developed with Prof Jean Chen, dean of the FBA and director of the BRTC at UM. The framework is one of the outcomes of a key research project sponsored by the National Social Science Fund of China. It explores theories about the governance of multinational companies from the perspectives of institutional differences, parent-subsidiary relationships, the network structure of multinational companies, and corporate social responsibility. He also interacted with the audience on the role of multinational companies during the pandemic.

Mr Liu discussed how Chinese multinational companies conduct cross-border mergers and acquisitions and how they govern their overseas subsidiaries. Citing several cases of Chinese companies’ overseas expansion, he analysed how to establish an appropriate governance system for an overseas subsidiary based on the governance system of the parent company, as well as how to integrate a newly acquired overseas subsidiary into the parent company.

The forum attracted 155 participants from around the world. Prof Jean Chen and Prof Li Wei’an, dean of the CACG at Nankai University, gave opening speeches at the forum. Prof Jacky Hong, head of the Department of Management and Marketing at UM, and Prof Jason Xiao, head of the Department of Accounting and Information Management at UM, chaired the forum and gave closing remarks.