Experian announced that it has acquired a minority stake in SINOTRUST, a leading business information and market research company in China. Founded in 1992, SINOTRUST provides business information, market research, consulting and database marketing services to both foreign multinationals and local companies operating in China. SINOTRUST helps clients in the automotive, banking, insurance, telecommunications, healthcare, technology and retail sectors. SINOTRUST’s sales in the year to 31 December 2005 were $11m, with gross assets as at that date of $7m. The stake was acquired from the founders. No terms were disclosed. Source: Experian Press Release
BIIA Comment: Why would Experian need to break into the unregulated b2b information market in China by taking a minority position and not going it alone? Perhaps it took the cue form D&B who after 13 years of going it alone opted for a partnership with Huaxia Credit. It is obvious that Experian is testing the waters by entering into the Chinese business information market with a low risk approach and using the Chinese art of good guanxi, i.e. SINOTRUST’s local expertise and connections. SINOTRUST’s strength is in market research and database marketing. This may be there were new partnership may play out first. On the credit information side, SINOTRUST seems to lack a workable trade program, an area where Experian may be able to help. The SINOTRUST move does not come as a surprise after Huaxia Credit linked up with D&B. SINOTRUST needed a partner of at least equal strengths. It will be interesting to watch how this new competitive landscape will develop.